Chelsea have been handed a blow after it emerged that Monaco would not be signing Malang Sarr on a permanent basis.
During 2021-22, Sarr proved to be a valuable member of Thomas Tuchel's squad, making a total of 16 starts and five substitute outings in all competitions.
However, with the Frenchman only due to remain as a fringe player after a summer of transfer activity, the decision was made to allow Sarr to go out on loan.
Monaco ultimately won the race for his signature, with the former Nice man welcoming the opportunity to return to that area of Europe and craving an opportunity to impress.
That initially proved to be the case with the 24-year-old being given game time in both Ligue 1 and the Europa League, but two separate spells have been spent on the sidelines.
As a result, Sarr ended the season having not featured since March 12 and with just 11 starts and five appearances as a substitute.
Although Monaco possessed an option to sign Sarr on a permanent basis for an alleged €15m (£12.7m), pushing through such a deal appeared a non-starter.
Monaco's failure to qualify for European football in 2023-24 rubber-stamped that view, and sporting director Paul Mitchell has confirmed the development.
As quoted by Get French Football News, Mitchell said: "Malang unfortunately got an injury, a muscular abdominal injury in training a few months ago so he wasn't available for selection for a long time. Malang has already gone back to #Chelsea."
While the decision is likely to have been anticipated by Chelsea's hierarchy, it comes as a blow with funds needing to be raised in order to fulfil FFP criteria.
With Sarr having recently undergone surgery, he will realistically not be considered by any interested clubs for the foreseeable future, at least before June 30 when Chelsea want to boost their books.
The player - who can play at centre-back or left-back - has just over two years remaining on his contract, and the likelihood is that Chelsea are already open to offers.
As a result of Sarr being signed on a free transfer in 2020, Chelsea will make progress with their finances if they generate a fee for his signature.