It was arguably one of the longest-running ‘will he, won’t he’ transfer stories since the transfer window opened, but Crystal Palace finally confirmed the arrival of Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho.
The 27-year-old was an inspired loan addition at Selhurst Park towards the end of last season, almost single-handedly lifting spirits around the club and helping Palace narrowly avoid relegation.
Who is Mamadou Sakho?
He’s a man that surely needs no introduction for Palace fans.
Signed by Sam Allardyce in the January transfer window, Sakho made an immediate impact at Crystal Palace and led them to an unprecedented five clean sheets – and five wins – in just eight appearances.
Unfortunately for him his season was ended early after picking up a severe knee damage against Tottenham but his impact had been telling and, equally important, had left a mark on Palace fans.
His short spell at Selhurst Park has seemingly rejuvenated his career after falling down the pecking order at Anfield following a fall-out with Jurgen Klopp, being an outcast for the first four months of last season.
Prior to that he had enjoyed a successful spell as part of the Paris Saint-German set-up, spending seven seasons in France after rising through the youth ranks, and he won the Ligue 1 title in 2013.
His impressive performances at the heart of PSG’s defence only alerted the attention of other European giants and, despite it ending sourly at Liverpool, he has the chance to prove himself now.
What is the deal?
According to Crystal Palace’s website in the early hours of the morning, Sakho will arrive at Selhurst Park on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Where will Sakho fit in at Selhurst Park?
Frank de Boer has already made some smart additions on paper this summer, bringing in Jairo Riedewald from Ajax and Timothy Fosu-Mensah from Manchester United to strengthen Palace’s defensive options, but neither of them have the vast experience that Sakho’s arrival can provide.
He showed last season exactly the type of player he is, bringing a no-nonsense and brilliant yet unorthodox manner of defending to Selhurst Park, and he’ll no doubt aim to pick up where he left off.
Who De Boer chooses to play alongside him in the heart of defence is anyone’s guess at the moment but all Palace will care about for now is having an imposing – and proven – figure to turn their form around.
What was the reaction to the switch?
Talking to the Palace website about his return, Sakho said:
“I am really happy to be here because I have some friends here. I loved the challenge last year; it was difficult but beautiful and it’s why this summer I thought that Palace was the best choice.
“I am really excited about playing for the Palace fans again, but in football the past is the past and you need to think about today and tomorrow. Last year we did a good job and we need to prove that again and have a good objective. If we put all of our power together, we will have a great season.”