OGC Nice’s Malang Sarr might just be 20 years of age but last season he was one of the most talked-about defenders in the Ligue 1.
His consistent performances in defences saw him being linked to West Ham during the summer transfer window as the Hammers looked at him as a potential replacement for Issa Diop.
Malang Sarr was born in OGC Nice and has come up through the ranks with his hometown club, emerging as a first-team star under Lucien Favre, who is now the current manager of Borussia Dortmund.
The defender already has almost 100 first-team appearances to his name, and he’s being touted for a huge future at both club and country.
After making his first-team debut for Nice at the age of just 17 back in 2016, the French defender is seemingly ready to take the next step in his promising career. He has just two years left on his contract, so West Ham could test Nice’s resolve with a cheeky bid in January.
Issa Diop joined West Ham last summer after a fine spell at Toulouse and, more than 12 months on, he is arguably one of the most exciting defensive prospects in Europe. But Diop hasn’t found a consistent player beside him, with Fabian Balbuena suffering from a couple of injury problems and Angelo Ogbonna highly inconsistent.
While Balbuena is now fully fit and waiting for his chance to impress, Pellegrini has continued with Ogbonna in central defence.
Ogbonna has done well of late but question marks remain over his long-term reliability. Pellegrini certainly will do well with the addition of another central defender in January as West Ham aim to break into the top six this season.
Malang Sarr fits the bill as a young, strong, quick, technically gifted and promising defender. The French prospect of Senegalese descent is regarded as a future star and has gained volumes of top-flight experience just at the tender age of 20.
Sarr, who is equally adept playing at centre-back or left-back, is fast, agile and a tough tackler of the ball. He is calm in possession and capable of dribbling out through defence comfortably. The 20-year-old can pick out a pass in the final third, whilst his ability to read the game to perfection at such a young age speaks volumes of his talent and potential.
The Frenchman’s ability to cut out attacks with well-timed tackles and interceptions, as well reading of the game and positional awareness, puts him above most of the young players in the same mould. Truly, Sarr has the required attributes to thrive in the fast-paced nature of the Premier League.
Sarr’s massive potential coupled with his versatility to play in multiple positions at the back should make him a wonderful asset to the West Ham backline. All in all, he could potentially be the perfect partner for Diop in Pellegrini’s defence.
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