This may come as a surprise to some, but Mamadou Sakho is still currently employed by Liverpool Football Club. There has been hardly any noise during this transfer window about the defender’s future with the club, which is somewhat odd considering that he is almost certainly not in Jürgen Klopp’s plans for the coming season. At still just 27 years of age and with Premier League experience on his resume, Sakho could represent a decent option for many teams looking for reinforcements at the back.
Crystal Palace was the presumptive next stop on Sakho’s journeys, given his performances for that club until injuries prematurely ended his season. The player himself had also expressed interest in playing for Palace’s new boss Frank de Boer. That move has been stalled, however, by Liverpool’s insistence on a permanent transfer (rather than loan) and on the Reds’ £30m valuation of a player who is viewed as surplus to requirements.
According to certain reports, Roma have now entered the picture as a potential landing spot for Sakho. The Serie A club have been active during this transfer window, and have seen Mohamed Salah and Antonio Rüdiger depart in big money deals for the Premier League, while also offloading Leandro Paredes to Zenit Saint Petersburg. On top of that, defender Kostas Manolas is also rumored to be a target, and could end up joining his former teammate Rüdiger at Chelsea.
Clearly, there are gaps that will need to be filled in the squad, but is Mamadou Sakho the answer for Roma? Perhaps, but likely not at £30m. Recall that the Salah sale was motivated in part by a need to get some black ink in the ledger. With a pricey Riyad Mahrez rumored to be the preferred replacement for Salah, the question is whether Roma will greenlight an outlay for a central defender that will be in the the region of the sum that they received for Rüdiger.
From Liverpool’s perspective, it’s admirable that the club is sticking to their valuation of the player, at least for the initial stages of these discussions. Liverpool will likely need someone to push Lovren and Matip for the coming season (or supplant one of them), and if that person isn’t Virgil van Dijk, it probably won’t be Mamadou Sakho either. The more that the club can extract from Sakho’s suitors, the better placed Liverpool will be to secure a vital piece of business before the season starts.