Rennes have beaten Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and other high-profile clubs to land highly-rated Metz winger Ismaila Sarr on a four-year deal.

Barcelona’s transfer window just keeps going from bad to worse. The Catalans have been dogged in the market by their competitors, with Neymar considering a switch to PSG. And it seems they have suffered another setback, with Metz winger Ismaila Sarr opting for Rennes in Barcelona’s stead.

Ismaila Sarr is a 19-year-old winger who arrived in the French League in the summer of 2016 as FC Metz signed the player from Senegalese outfit Generation Foot. And the player established himself as a regular in the Metz first-team setup in what has been his maiden season in Europe.

5 goals and 5 assists in 31 appearances – not enterprising numbers for a winger. But, his workrate, agility and the flair factor saw him being linked with the best of clubs in world football, just a season into his European footballing journey.

Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and even Premier League returnees Newcastle were linked to the enticing wing prospect. But, it is Rennes who have managed to steal a march on their comparitively higher-profile competitors in the pursuit of Sarr.

The 19-year-old has joined Rennes in a four-year deal and was recently unveiled by the club as their latest recruit ahead of the new season. Sarr was visibly upbeat after completion of the move as he talked to the club’s official website.

Sarr said, “It’s my pleasure to sign at Stade Rennais. The adventure of Rennes will soon begin for me, I already feel red and black. I resumed with FC Metz thinking to stay there to continue to progress. I had the opportunity to join Rennes and I am very proud of it. For me, leaving FC Metz to join FC Barcelona was too early.”

“Rennes is the club that can still make me progress. My margin for progression is still important. I still have to progress defensively and offensively be more decisive. With Christian Gourcuff [Rennes boss], I am convinced that I will succeed.”

The 19-year-old will be eager to impress his new coaches ahead of the new season. And, his statements clearly state that, while he is happy to sign for Rennes now, the likes of Barcelona are his ultimate aim, albeit he wants to improve himself and gain some experience before making the move.

It will be interesting to see if Sarr continues his development at his new club for long or is snapped up by a bigger club in the coming years.