We know Mamadou Sakho is for sale, that his departing Liverpool before the close of the January transfer window is in everybody’s best interest. Beyond that, we don’t know an awful lot except that there’s a growing list of clubs meant to be interested in him and very little suggesting any of the interest is especially solid.
Today, we add a few more names to the list, as both Swansea City and Spartak Moscow are said to now see Sakho as a key January target. They join a list that lately includes Southampton, Galatasaray, and Sevilla and that in the past has managed to tack on just about every top-half side in Serie A and France’s Ligue 1.
None of those names, none of those links, has yet seen a story that progresses past the interest stage, and the French and Italian clubs mostly faded from the picture when it started being suggested that Liverpool would be seeking around £20M for Sakho. Which isn’t unreasonable for a 26-year-old French international.
Or at least it wouldn’t be unreasonable if he hadn’t been frozen out at Liverpool for almost an entire year now, first by what turned out to be false doping allegations, then by injury, and finally by a falling out with manager Jürgen Klopp. There’s theoretical value and actual value, and Sakho’s actual value today isn’t £20M.
And if it was, one would have to ask Liverpool why a defender worth £20M—if that’s what the club genuinely value Sakho at—is playing with the U23s when Liverpool are down to two fit senior recognised centre halves and one of them is making errors costing Liverpool goals and games as was the case last night.
One would also have to ask if a £20M valuation for a player they refuse to involve in the first team is wise if the end result is seeing him stuck at the club for another six months. Or perhaps, this time, Swansea or Spartak will turn out to be the clubs who are actually ready to meet the reported asking price.
Of course, then the question becomes whether Sakho is at all interested in playing for one of this season’s relegation favourites in England or of being exiled to the Russian league given the player has made clear that mid-table or above in one of Europe’s big leagues is his preference.