Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has provided a clear hint that he is planning to loan Mamadou Sakho out this summer.
The Frenchman was reported to have been made available on Monday night, amid suggestions that Klopp was looking for him to regain his standing after four months on the sidelines.
Sakho was only definitively cleared of anti-drug charges on Tuesday afternoon, with the World Anti-Doping Agency deciding not to appeal UEFA’s decision to drop the case.
But his turbulent summer is not yet over, with Klopp effectively confirming to reporters following Tuesday night’s 5-0 win over Burton Albion in the League Cup that Sakho would leave the club.
“I’m happy that I don’t talk in situations like this,” he said.
“Everybody who needs to be informed about this have been informed about this.
“There are no secrets with the important people, I would say.”
This suggests that Klopp has made it clear to Sakho that he would be pursuing a loan move, with the German not denying speculation when given the opportunity.
Klopp saw Joel Matip shine on his debut at centre-back at the Pirelli Stadium, offering a similar, progressive option to Sakho, including incisive passes from deep.
The Cameroon international is likely to take up a key role after recovering from an ankle injury, and looks set to partner Dejan Lovren in 2016/17.
But with only Ragnar Klavan and injured duo Lucas Leiva and Joe Gomez in reserve at present, Sakho’s departure could prompt another arrival.
Liverpool have been linked with FC Porto’s versatile Bruno Martins Indi this month, and the 24-year-old Dutchman could be an option.
Klopp has just eight days left to both seal a loan deal for Sakho and identify a potential replacement.
Leaving his decision over Sakho’s future until so late in the transfer window is a bemusing stance from the 49-year-old, who had hoped to finalise his business early in the summer.
But with Sakho struggling with injuries and being sent home from the Reds’ pre-season tour of the US, Klopp’s hand may have been forced.