Naby Sarr knows he needs to develop a nasty streak to boost his chances of playing for Charlton – but admits it is not easy for him to change.
The 24-year-old centre-back was an expensive outlay when the Addicks were still a Championship side, the former French under-21 international signing a deal until 2020 when he arrived from Sporting CP in the summer of 2015.
But Sarr has struggled to hold down a starting spot at The Valley – making just 41 appearances in total – and would surely have been sold if his salary was not so prohibitive to a transaction.
“He is such a nice man – if anything too nice,” explained Charlton caretaker boss Lee Bowyer after Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Brighton. “We have just got to get spitefulness out of him, make him more aggressive.”
But Marseille-born Sarr admits that is easier said than done.
“I’m a player that likes the beautiful game – but it is not always a good thing for a centre-back. It’s something I’m working on.
“Lyle Taylor says he is going to change me into Pearcey [Jason Pearce]. Maybe that will happen after a few months.”
In a period of more austerity under Roland Duchatelet – who has cut back on spending as takeover talks continue to drag on – Sarr is exactly the kind of high earner that the Belgian businessman would love to get off the books.
But, just as it has been the case with Igor Vetokele, the Charlton owner has not found it easy to shift top earners who have not done enough on the pitch to elicit serious suitors.
Sarr replies with a simple “no” when asked if he is aware of interest. “I’m ready to fight for my place in the starting 11 every day.
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