13 Aug 2015

Transfer Talks: Liverpool negotiating surprise deal for 'outstanding' £18m powerhouse. Done Deal soon?

Last month, reports in Italy claimed that 'outstanding' Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho wants to quit the club, a notion that many Reds fans find hard to believe. Sakho himself recently claimed that he's happy at Anfield, but new reports suggest that the France defender is on the verge of leaving Anfield.

According to an alleged CalcioMercato exclusive on Wednesday, Sakho is one of Roma's top transfer targets.

The Daily Express further claims that:

* Liverpool are 'in talks' with Roma over a possible deal for Sakho.

* The Italian giants have the money to make a significant bid for the powerful defender.

This follows a July 21st 'exclusive' on La Lazio Siamo Noi (an Italian football website that broadcasts a football show on Italy's T9 TV Network), which claimed:

* Sakho - who cost Liverpool £18m - wants to leave Liverpool, and he's 'asked his agents' to find him a new club.

* The defender is concerned with the unhealthy competition at centre-back, and wants to sign for a team where he will be the main man in defence.

Over the last few years, I've repeatedly warned about the dangers of unhealthy competition in defence, and it looks like Sakho is beginning to feel the negative impact of that.

A few points to consider:

* Rodgers failed to include Sakho in Liverpool's 16-man squad for the club's pre-season friendly against HJK Helsinki.

* Rodgers described Helsinki as the 'most successful team in Finland', and said he'd approach the fixture 'like a Premier League game'.

* Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, and Gomez started the Helsinki game, so it was clearly a defensive dry-run for the Premier League opener against Stoke.

* With that in mind, if Rodgers sees Sakho as a starter, why wouldn't he include him in the Helsinki squad?

* Sakho wasn't even in the squad for the 1-0 victory over Stoke. The standard narrative is that Sakho missed the game due to the birth of his daughter, but the Frenchman trained all week, and travelled to the game, so why was he not selected)

* Liverpool played Stoke FIVE days after the birth of Sakho's daughter. Are we to believe that he wasn't ready to play?

If Rodger wanted Sakho in the team for Stoke, he would've played, irrespective of the birth, and I'm sure Sakho - who is desperate for a first-team place - would've answered the call.

Taking everything into consideration, the truth is obvious: Rodgers' first-choice partnership is Skrtel-Lovren, and Sakho is a squad player. Indeed, according to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echothis week:

"Lovren/Skrtel is clearly Rodgers' first choice partnership as it stands [with] Sakho/Toure as back up.

As such, its totally understandable if Sakho is genuinely thinking of leaving. With the European Championship on the horizon, he needs to be playing week-in, week out, and that hasn't really happened under Rodgers.

Sakho has undoubtedly improved over the last year, and his proactive and positive forward-passing is a particular highlight of his game. However, he is increasingly injury prone (Last season: 3 separate injuries; 30 games missed), and with only 46 appearances in 2 seasons (23 per year), he is unreliable.

If his injury problems continue, then - like Sturridge - Sakho's ability will become somewhat irrelevant as Liverpool will be unable to consistently benefit.

Whatever happens, the Reds have more than enough options to cover Sakho's departure. Whether those options are good enough remains to be seen...

Author: Jaimie K


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