Chelsea star ‘tells Pochettino not to pick him’ and is axed from first-team dressing room | Football | Sport

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Forgotten Chelsea star Malang Sarr reportedly no longer has a locker in his side’s first-team training building. The defender came close to leaving the Blues in the January transfer window but a deadline-day move to Le Havre collapsed, in a moment which has summed up his stint at Stamford Bridge so far.

Chelsea signed Sarr as a free agent in 2020 after his contract expired with Nice, managing to fend off rival interest to tie the defender down to a five-year deal with the club. The centre-back was viewed as an exciting prospect by many European outfits, though he has struggled since putting pen to paper with the Blues.

Sarr has featured scarcely since touching down in England, making just eight appearances for Chelsea – all of which came under Thomas Tuchel in the 2021/22 campaign. Loan spells have not helped the defender get his career back on track, and the next few months with the Blues look bleak.

The 25-year-old spent last season with Monaco on a loan-to-buy deal but failed to make an impression back in the Ligue 1, with a muscular abdominal injury meaning the move ended on a sour note. Unsurprisingly, Monaco therefore opted not to trigger his £12.6million buyout.

According to The Athletic, Sarr underwent surgery on the injury in May and did feature in part of Chelsea’s pre-season training but was not included in Mauricio Pochettino’s team which travelled to the United States. Instead, he trained with the Under-21 squad – where he remains to date.

The former Porto loanee was therefore not included in Chelsea’s official Premier League squad and no longer has a locker in the first-team building as he is fully integrated into the Under-21 setup. However, although there are games where he can feature at youth level, Sarr has been overlooked on every occasion and trains alone when Mark Robinson’s side have matches.

Chelsea sources reportedly said that the reason for Sarr’s continued absences with the Under-21s is because the player has indicated that he does not want to be selected. But those close to the player disagreed, claiming that the ex-Nice prospect ruled himself out whilst he was still recovering from his surgery but would be willing to feature now that he is fully fit.

Playing regularly, although at a lesser level, could stir up interest in Sarr ahead of the summer transfer window when he will be able to leave the club as a free agent, as long as he is willing to waive the wages he would earn in the final year of his contract with Chelsea.

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