Over the weekend, Bakary Sako returned to Crystal Palace on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
The former West Brom winger is arriving back in SE25 just months after he departed, representing the ideal, cut-price transfer admired by Roy Hodgson that can boost Palace’s attacking depth in the process.
Sako spent three productive years at Crystal Palace after joining from Wolves in 2015, adding flair, power, and an eye for goal on the left wing.
Although his 2017/18 campaign was marred by injuries, the Mali international enjoyed an excellent run of form in the winter, bagging three goals in the span of a month before an ankle injury cut his season short.
After Sako’s contract expired in the summer, Palace decided not to renew with the attacker, and Sako signed for West Brom in the fall. Yet his time at The Hawthorns was largely anonymous as Sako failed to crack the starting lineup or make an impact.
With a wide variety of forward players departing south London in January, such as Alexander Sorloth, Jason Puncheon, and Jordon Mutch, Hodgson needed to strengthen in attack.
Bakary Sako presents an ideal combination of the manager’s favoured attributes: a familiar face who has a proven track record at the club and commands a minimal expenditure amid tight funds.
Despite his West Brom struggles, a return to a familiar setting where he previously thrived will prove an astute transfer for both Bakary Sako and Crystal Palace.