Liverpool loanee Mamadou Sakho is unlikely to make his move to Crystal Palace permanent, Eagles manager Sam Allardyce has suggested.
Sakho left Anfield for Selhurst Park at the end of the January transfer window, after being frozen out by Jurgen Klopp following a turbulent summer.
Joining Palace has provided the Frenchman with the opportunity to revitalise his flagging career, and he has quickly established himself as a cornerstone of an improving side.
Currently fighting relegation from the Premier League, Palace’s hopes rest firmly on Sakho’s performances at the back, but even if they stay up, they could struggle to convince him to stay.
That is Allardyce’s belief, with the former England manager viewing this as more of a stepping stone for the 27-year-old.
“It would be a big negotiation at the end of the season if we were to stay in the Premier League,” he said.
“At this moment in time Mama has chosen Crystal Palace to play first-team football, I think he has settled into the environment exceptionally well.
“He has worked extremely hard at getting himself fitter because he had not played a competitive game all season.
“And he has shown what a good defender he is, and his capabilities on the ball—in possession he has been exceptionally good.”
Palace are currently reaping the benefits of Sakho’s Liverpool exile, with the France international a proven, top-level centre-back merely at odds with Klopp’s regime on Merseyside.
While Klopp has recently suggested the door was still open for Sakho to salvage his Reds career, that still remains unlikely.
But as does Sakho staying with Palace beyond the end of the season, with his performances at the heart of Allardyce’s defence no doubt convincing bigger clubs of his quality once again.
The likes of AC Milan, Inter Milan, Lille and Besiktas have previously been credited with an interest in Sakho, and this could be reignited in the summer transfer window if his form continues.
It could even be that another Premier League side comes in for the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, with a host of Liverpool’s rivals in need of quality at the back.
With Klopp’s current crop of centre-backs, namely Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, Joe Gomez and Lucas Leiva, struggling this season, be that due to fitness or form, his stance on Sakho remains a frustrating one.
But as Allardyce attests, this should only boost another club if Sakho moves again in the summer.