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Chelsea 'block Malang Sarr move to Fulham'

Chelsea 'block Malang Sarr move to Fulham'
© Reuters
Chelsea reportedly block a proposed transfer for Malang Sarr to Fulham until the Blues can sign another centre-back.

Chelsea have reportedly blocked Fulham from signing Malang Sarr in the current transfer window.

The 23-year-old did not establish himself as a regular in Thomas Tuchel's defence last term, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Trevoh Chalobah and Thiago Silva ahead of him in the pecking order.

Sarr - who arrived at Chelsea on a free transfer from Nice in 2020 - managed 22 appearances in all competitions during the 2021-22 season, but he only made six starts in the Premier League.

Sarr remains under contract at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2025, but according to the Evening Standard, Fulham have made an attempt to prise him away from the Blues.

The Cottagers are seeking to reinforce their defence as they attempt to avoid an immediate relegation back down to the Championship and are close to wrapping up an £8m deal for Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Newcastle United's Miguel Almiron in action with Chelsea's Malang Sarr, on March 13, 2022© Reuters

However, Chelsea have allegedly blocked Sarr from leaving the club amid their defensive crisis, but he may be allowed to head for the exit door if Tuchel can sign another centre-back.

Christensen and Rudiger's departures could open the door for Sarr to earn more opportunities in the first team next season, while Azpilicueta continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona.

Kalidou Koulibaly will line up at Stamford Bridge next season after completing a transfer from Napoli, but Chelsea have failed in their pursuits of several other revered centre-backs.

Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt have ended up at Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively, but the Blues had a £55m agreement in place with Sevilla to sign the former before stalling.

Paris Saint-Germain's Presnel Kimpembe and Manchester City's Nathan Ake are also expected to stay put, and Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has issued a hands-off warning over Wesley Fofana.

 Leicester City's Wesley Fofana in action with Chelsea's Timo Werner on May 18, 2021© Reuters

"Naturally, he's a top talent. He's not for sale. He still has lots of improvements to make. He's very happy here, he really enjoys being here," Rodgers told reporters over the weekend.

"Naturally he will attract the interest of other clubs. Our job, in not signing anyone so far, is to at least keep the players we have. I know that's the intention of the club."

If Chelsea were to step up their interest in Fofana, Leicester would reportedly demand at least £80m in straight cash to part ways with the 21-year-old.

Fulham have already signed Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira and Kevin Mbabu on permanent deals this summer, and Manor Solomon has joined on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk.

As well as Sarr, the Cottagers have also reportedly failed with a bid for West Ham United's Issa Diop, as David Moyes is reluctant to sanction the Frenchman's exit following Nayef Aguerd's ankle injury and subsequent surgery.

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Leicester City's Wesley Fofana celebrates winning the FA Cup, May 15, 2021
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