French Football over the last number of years have produced some the biggest emerging potentials within the game, the likes of Ousmane Dembélé who is now at Borussia Dortmund, Kingsley Coman now of Bayern Munich and Anthony Martial of Manchester United to name a few. The latest name to join this list, no doubt in my mind will be the Nice defender Malang Sarr.
At the age of seventeen and to be playing first team is no small accomplishment, but this player looks the real deal, watching this Nice team is very easy on the eye and with all the hype surrounding the move of Mario Balotelli to the Allianz Riviera the young man defender has quietly been able to go about his business. The team has played in a three man defence and a four man defence so far this campaign, but this young Frenchman has played left centre back and has looked at the ease with the step up to first team football. The seventeen year old is quietly surfacing for now but if he continues his early season emergence the vultures across Europe will be looking to prize away the young Frenchman. Watching Sarr play is like watching a veteran centre half at times like his partner Dante, the veteran Brazilian will be a big player for Sarr and how he can develop and continue to prosper within the backline. Currently sit top of Ligue 1 Nice can and have every right to be optimistic and the manager Lucien Favre has played a big role so far for the clubs rise, but also his protection of Sarr is admirable. Sarr scored in his debut for the club against Rennes and dedicated his goal to the victims of the awful terror attack earlier this year, a fantastic show of respect and maturity from a player who is only seventeen years of age.
I watched Malang Sarr for the first time properly in the Europe League defeat Nice suffered at the hands of Schalke from Germany however despite the loss and the formation change during the first half Sarr was the standout Nice player. Showing great composure taking the ball of his goalkeeper and in any situation in the defensive third of the pitch, aerially the young man is strong and reads the game very well, and his ability one on one was again very strong again. The last match against Monaco, Sarr was the first defender I have seen this season keep Portuguese wonder-kid Bernardo Silva quiet and ultimately restricted anything Monaco could produce in the final third. During that match he showed his reading of the game in behind impeccably, keeping Silva in front of him for the majority of the game, knowing that if Silva is quiet then Monaco are so much less of a threat to hurt you as a team. This player is he continues to work hard and improve and I would have to point out keeps playing football could no doubt reach the top of the game. Stay at Nice even if there are options to go elsewhere and develop his game further, make a real career for himself. There is no doubt he could be a future captain for his club and will no doubt be a future French international defender. Keep an eye for this young defender.