Mamadou Sakho arrived at Crystal Palace at the end of January on loan and made an immediate impact for the London club, helping to drag them away from the relegation places and to mid-table safety. He was key, a star, and despite having arrived mid-season and missing the past month through injury, he was a finalist for player of the season.
Now, the question is what comes next. There have been rumours of interest from Italy, but Liverpool's £30M price tag could put off any club on the continent and make the Premier League's mid-table, awash as it is in television cash, the most likely destination. On that front, Palace have made it clear they'd like to do a deal—though even for them, the pricetag could be prohibitive.
"Mama's something that the chairman has said he would try and negotiate," Palace manager Sam Allardyce said to reporters when asked about whether the Liverpool loanee could have a long-term future at the club. "For a club like ours, the figures would have to match up to what we've got to try and do. Whether we've got the budget for it is the big question."
Sakho made just eight appearances for Palace between his signing for them and his suffering of a ligament injury against Tottenham on the 26th of April. During that run, though, Palace secured five of their 12 total victories this season, recording a record of five wins, one draw, and two losses while conceding 7 goals, a rate of just 0.9 goals against per game.
By comparison, in their 29 league games without Sakho, Palace won seven times, drew four, and lost 18 while giving up 54 goals at a rate of 1.9 goals against per game. Since his injury they have one win, two losses, and have conceded seven goals in three games played. His involvement may have been brief, but his impact on the Palace defence has been clear.
"If we have that's great, if we haven't then we have to move on," Allardyce added. "We'll need other strengthening in other areas and it depends how much that pot weakens the financial position to strengthen other areas. It will be a tough summer as always."