Mamadou Sakho was a hugely important figure as Crystal Palace staved off relegation from the Premier League last season, despite playing in just eight games while on loan from Liverpool.
Palace’s record in Sakho’s eight games: 5W-1D-2L, including four wins in his first four games. Not bad for a side that sat in 19th place when he made his debut in late February. After Sakho suffered knee ligament damage in late April, Palace finished the season with three losses (by a combined score of 9-0) from their final four games.
Predictably, Sakho sat atop Palace’s wish list heading into the summer transfer window. Unfortunately for new Palace boss Frank De Boer, Liverpool’s valuation of the 27-year-old Frenchman remains nearly $40 million and has priced the Selhurst Park bunch out of the market.
Instead, Palace intend to spend a combined $40 million on four or five lesser-priced players as De Boer fills out the squad for his first season in the PL, according a report from the Guardian.
With an eye toward solidifying a defense which conceded 63 goals last season, De Boer is reportedly keen on poaching from familiarity territory: Ajax and Netherlands defenders Joel Veltman, 25, and Kenny Tete, 21, could arrive for as little as $13 million combined. Central midfield is the other key area De Boer will have to strengthen, following the departures of Joe Ledley and Mathieu Flamini on expiring contracts.