Malang Sarr admits he was ‘surprised’ when Chelsea wanted to sign him last year but is determined to make his mark this season back at Stamford Bridge after Porto loan spell
- Malang Sarr has revealed he did not expect Chelsea to sign him last year
- Sarr spent last season on loan at Porto and wants to thrive at Stamford Bridge
- ‘I was training on my own, training at home and just waiting,’ the defender said
- ‘When my agent told me about this opportunity I was surprised and happy’
Malang Sarr is ready for his first season at Chelsea a year after signing for the club and has admitted he never expected to join the club in the first place.
The French defender, 22, was left without a club after his contract with boyhood club Nice expired in June, with no football to play after the Ligue 1 season was cancelled following the coronavirus pandemic while Europe’s other top leagues continued.
Chelsea, who made a huge number of signings last year while many clubs slowed their transfer activities due to the impact of the pandemic, took advantage and signed Sarr before sending him out on loan to Porto.
Malang Sarr, who signed for Chelsea in 2020, admitted he was ‘surprised’ to join the club
Sarr has been training with Chelsea after spending the last campaign on loan at Porto
‘I was training on my own, training at home and just waiting. I had been almost six months without playing, and when my agent told me about this opportunity to come here to Chelsea, I was surprised and happy,’ Sarr told the Londoners’ official website.
‘It was a great opportunity for me. He talked to me about going on loan for the first year and for me it was a good idea. I hadn’t played for a long time and I needed to get the rhythm and to play and have a good experience also, step up after Nice, and come back stronger and ready to go.’
The centre-back, a France under-21 international, did not quite have the role he would have hoped for at Porto, making only five league starts all season and was called upon to play eight times for the reserve side in the second division.
Sarr facing Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo in an ‘unbelievable’ Champions League last-16 game
But he still had a few moments to savour, including coming off the bench to help Porto knock Juventus out of the Champions League in a thrilling 3-2 extra-time defeat as his side progressed on away goals.
‘That game was unbelievable, with a lot of ups and downs,’ he said.
‘I came in after the red card. I knew it would be tough, for sure, but playing 10 against 11, it was even harder. When I saw that happen, the team acted differently. We stepped up and played like we were 11 on the pitch. Everyone was giving everything, and to catch that feeling was really great.
‘To finish the game like this, the last-minute goal, against Juventus…wow. That is the game you want to play, 10 against 11, with all the difficulties and things not going your way, that was really the game. We fought against adversity.’
Sarr is now keen to build on his Porto experience with Chelsea, who knocked his Porto side out on their way to lifting the Champions League.
Coach Thomas Tuchel puts Chelsea through their paces in pre-season training at Cobham
Sarr, pictured taking on Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, wants to help Chelsea ‘to the top’
‘I hope to join the team and help the team to the top,’ he said.
‘They finished the season as Kings of Europe. I’m here to help and to let the team stay at the highest level, trying to bring all the good energy and my work to the team. I know the club is ambitious and I am ambitious as well, so it’s a perfect match.
‘It’s a pleasure to be here, starting to work, we are working very hard and very well so I’m happy. I have enjoyed being here.
‘I have spoken a little bit with the manager, he knows I speak French so we have been talking. I have a good feeling here; everybody is very good with me. I can feel everybody is ambitious here.
‘They want to work and they really want us to give the best every day, and that’s a good thing because that’s how I see things. I really want to work hard every day and try to improve in every aspect.