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Malang Sarr: “I would have left if INEOS had not bought OGC Nice.”

Speaking in an interview with L’Équipe, OGC Nice’s left-sided defender Malang Sarr admitted that he would have likely left the Ligue 1 club had they not been bought by INEOS this summer.

You seemed set to leave the club this summer…

It was a little bit of a unique one. I did not feel like the former owners/board had the same desire or ambition as me. I was coming to a difficult moment, with one year left on my contract. As I did not feel like the club could allow me to continue to grow, I had to look elsewhere. What was brought to me was not at the level that I wanted to achieve.

What was the problem?

The footballing ambition. I was not on the same wavelength as them, and RB Leipzig and Gladbach came to me with more impressive projects.

If Nice had not been sold, would you not be here anymore?

It is possible, I am telling the truth because my ambition was to progress. I have always needed to have a good feeling with the club and I did not feel it at that moment.

Did your doubts continue right up until the sale?

Yes, because with the former board, the decision was quasi-taken. To see Julien Fournier (Sporting Director) and Jean-Pierre Rivère (President) come back is a good thing because things have always gone well with them.

We have already heard you speak very good English. You are going to be able to negotiate your contract extension directly with Bob Ratcliffe (president of INEOS football)…

I do alright in English, that is true. I have always been interested by languages. I am trying to give it a go, to learn each day, and I am not scared to practice it. We have a member of staff who speaks to me in English, who corrects me. I watch anything I can, I ask questions. It makes the brain work, and it takes me away from the world of football. I also like Spanish a lot. When Walter Benitez arrived, I was in a room with him and asked him to speak to me in Spanish. I would reply in French so we would both make progress!

 

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