Crystal Palace announced their list of out-of-contract players this weekend, featuring long-serving players such as Damien Delaney, Joel Ward, and Julian Speroni.
However, the far more recent addition Bakary Sako is one of the most important Palace players facing an expired contract, and the club must secure the fan favourite’s future at Selhurst Park this summer.
Sako enjoyed a fine goalscoring spell last season, yet tragically had his campaign cut short by injury just as he was finding his form.
An exciting, powerful, and clinical attacker with a knack for goal, the Malian is a crucial part of the Palace team and should be rewarded with a new contract.
The 30-year-old joined from Wolves in 2015, bagging two goals and an assist in his first two league matches for the Eagles. Yet, his debut season was marred by injury and he would fail to score again in the Premier League all season.
A combination of injury and the Africa Cup of Nations limited Sako to just seven league appearances the following year, and it was not until the 2017/18 season that the Malian discovered his true form in south London.
Sako enjoyed a wonderful winter period, scoring priceless goals against Watford, Leicester, Burnley, and Brighton in a prolific month-long spell from December to January.
He began to enjoy increased success operating as a centre-forward, with the goals and victories flowing as a result.
Unfortunately, an injury suffered in January’s match against West Ham United prematurely ended Sako’s season just as the attacker was showing his true worth.
Once Bakary Sako returns fit and ready to go for the upcoming Premier League season, he should be offered a new contract by Crystal Palace.
His goalscoring prowess and popularity amongst the Palace faithful mean extending the Malian’s stay at Selhurst Park should be a major goal of the club’s transfer window.