Pape Matar Sarr will be looking to impress Antonio Conte in what is the first full pre-season for the pair at Tottenham Hotspur.
The 19-year-old midfielder was signed by sporting director Fabio Paratici last summer in a £14.6m deal from then-Ligue 1 outfit Metz, where he remained on loan for the 2021/22 campaign.
Over the course of the season, Sarr registered 34 appearances and appeared to be a regular option for the relegated French side. He is now back at Hotspur Way where he is surely seeking to become a first-team option for the Italian head coach.
If successful, you’d imagine that he’d replace the presence of Tanguy Ndombele in the engine room.
Of course, a case can be made in the fact that Conte is already stacked in midfield, having added former Brighton and Hove Albion star Yves Bissouma to the mix. He joins the likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp and Rodrigo Bentancur as key options.
Ndombele also went out on loan in January, having lost his place in the squad, and it’s believed that the club are making it a priority to sell him before the end of the transfer window on September 1st, as per transfer insider Dean Jones.
The emergence of Sarr could certainly push the club-record £55m flop closer to the exit door.
Attitude worries and a lack of consistency on the pitch has pretty much summed up his three years in north London, not even his former club Lyon wants him despite taking him on a short-term stint last term.
Football Insider pundit Alan Hutton dubbed the 25-year-old “very lazy.”
Sarr, however, is a bright prospect and one that has caught the eye of Fabrizio Romano, who believes that Spurs could well have a Paul Pogba-type on their hands.
“I am told this guy is really more than an interesting talent. He has real potential, [he’s a] fantastic talent,” he said. “One of my sources told me he could become one style of [Paul] Pogba player. He has style, he has potential, he has skills, so we will see what happens with this guy.”
Sarr also won 1.9 tackles per 90, and averaged 1.3 dribbles per 90, too, as per WhoScored.
That sort of return begins to somewhat backup Romano’s thoughts surrounding the player and only goes to show the potential Conte could have right under his nose.
Given the fact that he has traveled to South Korea for pre-season, we could well see Ndombele instantly usurped in the pecking order and as such, the £27m-rated dud one step closer to the exit door, at long last.