Chelsea have confirmed the signing of French defender Malang Sarr, who will now spend the upcoming season away on loan.
Sarr becomes manager Frank Lampard’s fourth acquisition for the senior side in what has been a frantic transfer window so far.
Sarr, 21, has put pen to paper on a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge though could be set to head to Bayer Leverkusen, in a loan switch will would look to help secure the signature of Kai Havertz for the Blues.
The German club are understood to be interested in Sarr, and could be set to request his services as part of their ongoing negotiations with Chelsea for £90m-rated wonderkid Havertz.
In 119 appearances for Nice, the France Under-21 international scored three goals before winding down his contract and leaving the club to join Chelsea on a free transfer.
On signing Sarr, Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: ‘The opportunity to sign Malang was one we could not miss.
‘He is a tremendous prospect and we will be monitoring him closely during his loan period, hoping he will soon be back at Chelsea. We are very happy to welcome him to the club today.’
He joins Hakim Ziyech (£38m from Ajax), Timo Werner (£53m from RB Leipzig) and Ben Chilwell (£50m from Leicester) as summer purchases for the Blues.
Indeed Sarr’s arrival comes just one day after the capture of Chilwell, with more signings expected in the coming weeks.
The Blues are also on the brink of finalising another free transfer for Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, after the veteran star concluded his stay with Paris Saint Germain.
Each of Silva, Sarr and Chilwell will go some way to revitalising Lampard’s defence, which came under intense scrutiny last season.
The west London club also remain in the market for a goalkeeper, following Kepa Arrizabalaga’s fall from grace.
The Spaniard became the world’s most expensive stopper when Chelsea signed him from Athletic Bilbao for £72m in the summer of 2018, though he has since lost his place to Willy Caballero following a series of high-profile mistakes.