Friday, January 27, 2023

Stoke City Willing To Sign This French Defensive Beast: But Can They Cough Up The Transfer Fee?

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Anirban Sarkar
Anirban Sarkar is a former columnist of The 4th Official. A huge East Bengal fan and has travelled over 1000 miles to see his team in action.

Stoke City are considering options for Liverpool outcast Mamadou Sakho. The French defender has fallen in the pecking order of Jurgen Klopp and the German gaffer is very willing to offload the player if a suitable offer comes to him.

Sakho had a fall out with Klopp as the manager kept avoiding him during the entire first half of the last season. The defender was at loggerheads with the coach as the manager sent him back from Liverpool’s pre-season camp in the United States.

The defender reported late for their flight to the US and due to some other reasons he was forced to leave the US soil and since then he had been frozen out by Klopp until his move to Crystal Palace. Sakho was taken on loan by Sam Allardyce as the Ex-England manager was looking for some solid defensive reinforcements for the Eagles.

Despite having had no action for the entire first part, Sakho’s performance was very impressive. His gruelling defending in the Palace backline helped the team to stay afloat in the Premier League. Palace were interested in the defender but the sudden resignation of Allardyce jeopardised all their plans.

Eagles chairman Steve Parish has confirmed that they cannot afford Sakho’s fee currently and thus have shifted their focus to other possible targets. Stoke have been defensively very vulnerable last season and Mark Hughes has been in the market for a rugged defender.

Longtime servant Ryan Shawcross is yet to commit his future while the Potters haven’t had any positive response from Porto regarding the transfer of Bruno Martins Indi who had a pretty commanding season at the BET365 Stadium.

But Liverpool’s price tag of £30m has been a stumbling block for Stoke. The Reds are very keen to remove Sakho from their books but have cleared their intentions of not reducing their price.

Stoke would be very willing to negotiate the price with the Reds and if the Reds lowered their price, Hughes is ready to make a move for the defender. Sakho was brought from Paris Saint Germain and the defender has been an instant hit among the supporters with his defensive skills. The powerful Frenchman has featured in 80 matches for the Reds and it seems he might have played his last match for Liverpool.

Stoke could throw a window of opportunity to the player who has been totally shut out by Klopp. Hughes needs more options in the backline and Sakho could offer him some respite next season.

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