Returning Chelsea defender ready to make impact after talks with Thomas Tuchel

Returning Chelsea defender Malang Sarr says he is ready to ‘help the team to the top’ after holding positive talks with head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Sarr arrived at Chelsea with a promising reputation from Nice back in August 2020 but was immediately sent on a season-long loan to Porto last term and is yet to feature for the Blues.

The 22-year-old centre-back made 19 first-team appearances for the Primeira Liga outfit in all competitions, impressing against the likes of Manchester City and Juventus in the Champions League.

Sarr will have been desperate to make a good impression as he joined up with his Chelsea team-mates for pre-season training this month but there has been talk that he could be set for another temporary switch away from Stamford Bridge for the forthcoming campaign.

However, it appears the Frenchman is ready for battle for his place under Tuchel and is intent on making his mark sooner rather than later in west London.

‘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,’ he told Chelsea’s official website.

‘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.

‘I hope to join the team and help the team to the top.

‘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.’

Throughout his spell at Porto, Sarr was in constant contact with Chelsea hero Paulo Ferreira, who is now employed as a technical coach for the club’s players out on loan.

Ferreira also represented Porto during his playing days and was an invaluable mentor to a young centre-half finding his feet in a foreign country.

‘He was really kind with me, he was talking to me almost every day, trying to get news, asking for feedback, checking everything was going well,’ says Sarr.

‘I felt really good at Porto and the main reason was because of him. He was taking care of me. He gave me some little tricks with the language as well!’

Sarr played six times across Porto’s Champions League campaign last term and the defender was satisfied with his performances in Europe’s premier competition, which Chelsea went on to win.

He added: ‘To play in the Champions League was a goal of mine since I was a kid.

‘It was great to have that opportunity, see the level and where I’m at.

‘I was happy to do pretty well, we were really solid defensively and that’s the main thing for me as a defender.’

Sarr looked up to several Chelsea stars while rising through the ranks of Nice’s academy, where he initially made his name as a talented young forward.

Asked whether he had any Chelsea heroes growing up, he replied: ‘I was a striker until I was 13 or 14 so Didier Drogba was one.

‘Then the guys at the back, John Terry and Ashley Cole, and then Frank Lampard, all these legends.

‘My father loved Marcel Desailly, too, and would tell me all about him.’

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