It proved to be a tense afternoon for Crystal Palace as negotiations for the return of Mamadou Sakho to Selhurst Park ran down to the wire. The 26-year-old impressed in an injury-curtailed loan spell in south London last season and was desperate to return to Palace on a permanent basis.
The stumbling block proved to be Liverpool’s demands for a fee in the region of £30m. It threatened to derail the transfer with Palace opening talks with Manchester City over another 26-year-old French defender, Eliaquim Mangala.
Just when it seem the Sakho deal was collapsing, the Merseysiders relented and to Palace boss Frank de Boer’s relief, agreed a fee of £26m.
It means the towering Sakho will return to the heart of Palace’s wayward defence, bringing the Dutchman hopes, some much-needed discipline. Only West Ham United’s failings are keeping the Eagles off the bottom of the Premier League table at present.
Signed from Paris St Germain four years ago, Sakho failed to impress Jurgen Klopp after he took over as Liverpool boss and was keen to move on, in search of regular first team football. Sam Allardyce offered him that at Selhurst Park last season but the giant centre back suffered knee ligament damage after just eight games.