Mamadou Sakho’s Liverpool career went from bad to worse on Wednesday morning as it was announced he has been left out of Jurgen Klopp’s 30-man squad for a training camp in Germany.
The Reds jet off for Berlin today as their pre-season preparations continue with friendlies against Hertha BSC and Bayern Munich, but the club’s official website released a squad list without Sakho.
It was this time last year when tempers first began to fray between the 27-year-old and Klopp, with the fall-out leaving Sakho outcast from Liverpool’s first-team.
12 months down the line, it appears there is still no way back into the German’s plans despite a successful loan at Crystal Palace.
The Frenchman managed eight appearances at Selhurst Park before suffering season-ending knee damage against Tottenham, being the main catalyst as they defied the odds and avoided relegation.
However, with his future at Anfield very much hanging by a thread after his latest omission, The Boot Room takes a look at three potential clubs that could make a move for Sakho during the summer window.
Undeniably the most suitable place for Sakho to go is back to Crystal Palace, with both player and club benefitting from his short loan spell there last year – but Liverpool have made this very difficult.
Reports from the Mirror, just yesterday, suggest that the Merseyside outfit are refusing to let Sakho leave on another loan deal – telling Palace that there is ‘zero’ chance of this happening – and that they won’t even begin to listen to offers of anything less than £30 million.
This puts a huge spanner in the works for new Palace boss Frank de Boer, with the Eagles simply unable to meet this valuation, but it is thought the Dutchman is prepared for tough negotiations this summer.
Sakho left a lasting impression after his heroic spell last season, keeping four clean sheets in just eight matches and inspiring them to the vital – and impressive – victories over Chelsea and Arsenal.
His calming presence in the heart of the defence had an evident effect not just on the pitch but on his teammates too, and his leadership, ability in the air and no-nonsense tackling is just the player that Palace need.
Now it’s all down to De Boer to try and twist Liverpool’s arm into halving the price.
Perhaps more of an outside shot, but with the future of perennial centre-back Ryan Shawcross remaining in the balance, Stoke City could be poised to make a surprise swoop for the 27-year-old.
The Liverpool Echo had reported Stoke’s general interest in Sakho last summer, with the Potters looking to take him on a season-long loan, and a year later Mark Hughes could return to try and seal the deal.
After already adding seasoned veteran Darren Fletcher to his ranks this summer it’s clear that Hughes prefers signings that are proven in the Premier League – and Sakho certainly fits the bill.
Dependable and already comfortable with the English top-flight, he is the kind of player that could thrive at Stoke – like last year at Palace – and help them consolidate in their push for the top eight.
As in Palace’s case the £30 million price tag on the Frenchman’s head could prove difficult to meet, but if failed signing Giannelli Imbula does in fact leave – as per The Sun– it could help raise some funds.
Should Sakho fancy a slightly different challenge to the one that he would face in the Premier League, then La Liga outfit Sevilla could be the perfect match.
Reports from Sky Sports during the January transfer market had suggested that the Spanish side were interested in the French centre-back, with Sevilla – who won three consecutive Europa League titles between 2014-2016 – approaching Liverpool about the possibility of a move for Sakho.
And although nothing serious materialised on that occasion they could easily come back into the race now his future at Anfield seems dead and buried, enticing him with regular first-team action in Seville.
After losing centre-back Adil Rami to Marseille already this summer there is a clear vacancy in the Sevilla defence. Furthermore, after earning €37.5 million (£33.5 million) from the recent sale of attacker Vitolo to Atletico Madrid, there is no reason as to why they cannot meet Liverpool’s financial demands for Sakho.