Why Roy Hodgson must keep hold of defender Mamadou Sakho
The high-profile appointment of Frank de Boer as the new Palace boss was one of the major stories of last summer but his shocking spell resulted in an early dismissal, paving the way for former Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.
The veteran Englishman turned their fortune around and sensationally escaped a relegation scare, however, is now sweating over the future of key defender Mamadou Sakho amid interest from Ligue 1 heavyweights Olympique Lyonnais.
The Eagles signed the France international last summer from Liverpool for a fee of around £26m after a stunning short-term loan spell in the preceding season that guided Palace to Premier League safety under Sam Allardyce.
His impact was more than enough for the Eagles to make an audacious bid and the former Paris St-Germain star was delighted to see his future sorted following a few difficult months in Merseyside.
Sakho was a first-team regular in the Reds backline under Brendan Rodgers and continued to exhibit his quality even after Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival. But a string of disciplinary issues resulted in a fallout with the charismatic German who axed the Frenchman from his future plans and sent him home from the Reds’ pre-season trip for breaking club rules on multiple occasions.
Their relationship never healed and the player is now working hard to settle down in new surroundings after missing months of football last season due to injury.
Lyon are reportedly preparing a bid of around £13m which is half the price Palace paid Liverpool to rope in the centre-back. Although an opportunity to return to his homeland along with the chance to play Champions League football sounds enticing, he has a contract at Selhurst Park until 2021, which means the Eagles hold the power in any possible negotiation.
Hodgson has James Tomkins and Scott Dann as the alternate centre-back options with the latter having a couple of injury-riddled terms. Young Dutch international Jaïro Riedewald found his opportunities limited following a summer switch under De Boer.
Keeping hold of the 28-year-old French professional, therefore, should be a priority as a fully-fit Mamadou Sakho will ensure composure and resilience at the back.
Palace have not been active in the window yet but they should focus on retaining their star performers to avoid any mishap, having narrowly escaped relegation for successive seasons.