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Could this Ajax duo be a suitable alternative to Mamadou Sakho at Crystal Palace?

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Could this Ajax duo be a suitable alternative to Mamadou Sakho at Crystal Palace?

The Guardian are reporting that Crystal Palace are preparing to end their pursuit of Mamadou Sakho, after being priced out of a move for the out-of-favour Liverpool defender.

The Frenchman has been frozen out of the first team picture at Anfield since the summer of 2016 with Jurgen Klopp making it abundantly clear that he is not part of his rebuilding plans.

Crystal Palace brought in Sakho on a short-term loan in January as the club battled against relegation and the 30-year-old’s consistent performances in central defence played a pivotal role in The Eagles securing survival.

A knee ligament injury curtailed his spell at Selhurst Park, but the club hierarchy were optimistic of sealing a permanent deal in the summer.

However, Liverpool have set a £30 million asking price for Sakho and are unwilling to drop their valuation of the player.

Talks have taken place between the two clubs but Crystal Palace are unwilling to invest such a large portion of their transfer budget on one purchase, with new manager Frank de Boer confident that he can recruit up to five players for the same amount of money.

That has prompted the London club to consider alternative options.

Alternative options

Frank de Boer faces a significant rebuilding task as he heads into the start of pre-season with a Crystal Palace squad that only just escaped relegation in the last campaign and has seen a multitude of departures.

The Eagles have released Fraizer Campbell, Joe Ledley, Mathieu Flamini, Jonathan Benteke and Zeki Fryers whilst Mamadou Sakho and Loic Remy have returned to their parent clubs following the conclusion of their loan deals.

This has left the current squad looking short of quality and strength in depth with de Boer, although keen to assess the players that he has inherited before dipping into the transfer market, aware that he will have to bring in a host of new faces. With a deal for Sakho looking increasingly unlikely the Dutch coach is looking to widen the search for reinforcements.

The Guardian are suggesting that Ajax defensive pair Joel Veltman and Kenny Tete have been earmarked by de Boer as potential defensive targets as he attempts to construct a more youthful team.

 

De Boer handed Veltman his first team debut at Ajax five years ago after promoting him from the club’s youth academy and is confident that his existing reputation with the player will help to finalise a potential deal.

The 25-year-old defender, who is equally as capable playing as a fullback or central defender, has made 17 appearances for Dutch national team whilst his performances have attracted the interest of a number of high-profile clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by the Standard.

His current contract is due to expire at the end of the season and Ajax are expected to cash-in to avoid losing Veltman for free in twelve months’ time.

Meanwhile, Tete has been granted permission to miss Ajax’s pre-season training camp in Austria to hold talks with other clubs regarding a potential transfer. The 21-year-old has cemented his place as one of Holland’s brightest, young attacking fullbacks and has already made six appearances for the Dutch national team.

De Boer also handed Tete his first team debut whilst manager at Ajax.

Is a move likely?

Frank de Boer is keen to build a team based on youth, energy and enthusiasm at Crystal Palace and it appears that he will continue his philosophy of buying and developing talent rather than investing heavily in experienced, big-name players.

The club’s decision to pull out of negotiations for Mamadou Sakho suggests that their new Dutch manager believes that he can get better value for money elsewhere, with Joel Veltman and Kenny Tete at the top of his wish-list.

Both players are being courted by a number of clubs across Europe but de Boer is confident that his existing relationship with the pair can convince them to move to Selhurst Park. The Dutchman handed Veltman and Tete their first team debuts whilst managing Ajax and is fully aware of their ability and potential.

The pair are expected to depart Ajax during the summer with Tete being granted permission to talk to other clubs whilst Veltman has less than one year remaining on his current deal. Crystal Palace believe that they can secure their signatures for around £10 million and believe that this would be a much more effective investment when compared to the £30 million that Liverpool are demanding for Sakho.

The real challenge for de Boer would be to convince Veltman and Tete to join Crystal Palace rather than a more glamorous European club.

Featured image all rights reserved Serg Hoholok

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