The 19-year-old, who was also a target for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, said he felt it was too early to move to the Spanish giants. Instead, he has chosen to remain in the French top division and has signed a four-year contract at his new club.
Sarr joins Rennais from their Ligue 1 rivals FC Metz, for whom he scored five goals, registered an assist and created 25 scoring opportunities from 31 league games.
Speaking to his new club’s website, he said: “Leaving FC Metz to join FC Barcelona directly, it was too early for me. If I am involved here it is to cross a level and perhaps after joining a great European formation.
“It’s my pleasure to sign at Stade Rennais. I had the opportunity to join Rennes and I am very proud of it.
“The adventure of Rennes will soon begin for me, I already feel red and black.”
He also revealed his admiration for Rennes manager Christian Gourcoff, saying, “My margin for progress is still important.
“I still have to progress defensively, offensively be more fair, more decisive in the approach to the goal. With Christian Gourcuff, I am convinced that I will succeed.”
— Stade Rennais F.C. (@staderennais) July 26, 2017
Sarr remains a relatively unknown figure among the top tiers of European football but Barcelona’s interest is a measure of his talent.
A pacy winger, Sarr is comfortable on either wing and good with the ball at his feet. More importantly, the calm with which he handled the offer from Barcelona, and his stated willingness to work on both offensive and defensive elements of his game, suggests he is a player to look out for in future seasons.
And he already has six caps to his name for Senegal and was in Alio Cisse’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations squad, where Senegal were knocked out by Cameroon in the quarter-finals.