Reports have reiterated Liverpool's stance on asking £30 million for Mamadou Sakho. This is nothing new, of course, after last month's report that Liverpool want a massive fee in return for the 27-year-old's services.
Sakho's performances during his loan spell at Crystal Palace helped Sam Allardyce to instill some defensive solidity in a team that lacked organisation. Scott Dann and James Tomkins are a solid pair of centre backs for a league that regularly showcases defensive maladies, but they didn't provide defensive leadership in times of strife. The arrival of Sakho in January, however, proved to be an inspired if expensive loan move once he started playing.
Despite an injury that ended Sakho's season a few games early, Crystal Palace are eager to find a way to bring him to Selhurst Park this summer. There was no purchase clause in the loan deal so Liverpool are free to demand as much as possible for a defender whose resolute displays have made a hefty asking price seem quite reasonable indeed. Palace chairman Steve Parish confirmed the South London club's intentions but also spoke of the need for negotiation.
“You can’t con anyone that he didn’t make a massive difference,” Parish said after Crystal Palace consigned Hull City to a return to the Championship. “We won some massive games with him. He’s a really nice person, a big character, he’s got the respect of all the players, and it’s one we’d like to do.
“But, of course, we have a lot of things we need to do in the summer, and the money needs to work for us and for Liverpool. I’m sure there’ll be a negotiation on that. If we can make it work, of course we’d like to, I’m not going to try and be coy or clever on that. He’s a very good player and I think he likes being with us. We like him. Let’s hope we can do it.”
This is all part of the plan to break the club's transfer record for Southampton centre back Virgil van Dijk or get the Michael Keane consolation prize. Christian Benteke made a big move to South London last summer, and if Sakho is open to joining his current and former teammate on a permanent deal, perhaps a compromise can be struck.
There is no way back for Sakho, but using his outgoing transfer to partly fund an upgrade in Van Dijk could be a smart move. Jürgen Klopp is a fan of Dejan Lovren, Joël Matip has been a somewhat calming influence, and it is finally time for this saga to end no matter where one stands.
What does seem certain is that Liverpool will be making a profit on a good but unfavoured player signed for £18 million nearly four years ago.