Why This Defensive Man-Mountain Is Exactly What Crystal Palace Need

Crystal Palace have been active in the market ever since Sam Allardyce took over and by the manager’s admission, they have tried to sign around 20 to 30 players till now. While that might be a slight exaggeration, it is clear that the Eagles need to strengthen in various positions if they are to finish considerably higher up in the table than where they are now.

Currently, in the 18th spot, they have to turn things around, otherwise, a relegation dogfight is very much on the cards. Under Alan Pardew, the club managed just 6 wins in the entirety of last year which is an abysmal record considering the fact that he was given all the avenues to do much, much better than what they eventually did.

Immediately after coming in, Sam Allardyce predictably focused on the fullback areas which was a virtual non-entity, especially at left-back. They were woefully short at left-back and hence the signings of two players in that position, for a combined fee of around £26m, did not come across as a major surprise. Patrick Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp will add a lot of quality on the left-flank and it is a move which will be beneficial for the attackers as well, with the likes of Benteke feeding of crosses from the wing.

But there are issues in central defence as well. A lot of the responsibility has fallen on Scott Dann’s shoulders and it has affected his performance. Palace have not looked comfortable in the defence and with the base of the team on such slippery grounds, it is understandable when they fail to string together performances of any conviction.

A.F.C. Bournemouth v Liverpool - Premier League

And latest reports linking Palace with Liverpool outcast, Mamadou Sakho to the Selhurst Park, doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the defender has the ability and the quality to feature in most of the teams in the Premier League.

Sakho fell out spectacularly with Jurgen Klopp in the pre-season camp last summer and has failed to appear in a single match since April 2016. The grounds of the fallout is still not clear to many but such a defender not playing is a travesty and Palace are apparently willing to cough up the £20m which Liverpool are supposedly asking.

His strength and burst of pace is well known and his defensive qualities will put him above anyone else in the Palace backline. The French international will have a point to prove and will be relishing a match against Liverpool. Crystal Palace can probably afford his wages and with the defender looking for regular football to get back into the reckoning for a spot in the National team, this deal looks like a win-win for everyone involved.

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