Premier League

Sakho Return Perfect Springboard For De Boer At Crystal Palace

 • by Dan Ludlam
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The deadline day acquisition of Mamadou Sakho could prove just the tonic Frank de Boer needs to turnaround his fortunes at Crystal Palace.

No goals and no points – the Dutchman has endured the most rigorous of starts in the Premier League, but the capture of Sakho has helped to lift some of the doom and gloom already circulating around Selhurst Park.

The former Liverpool defender enjoyed a magnificent spell in south London at the back end of last season, almost singlehandedly keeping Palace in the top flight.


Frank de Boer On The Arrival of Mamadou Sakho… by FootballWhispers

 

A short-term loan spell yielded five wins from eight games and four valuable clean sheets as the Eagles pulled clear of trouble, with Sakho becoming a cult hero in the process.

It would be crazy to overlook the impact that manager Sam Allardyce played in steering them clear of danger, but it also wouldn’t be too far-fetched to suggest that without Sakho, Palace’s Premier League status may not have been assured.

His inspiring, uncomplicated, no-nonsense attitude proved just as, if not more, valuable than star man Wilfried Zaha’s timely return to form.

A magnificent rearguard act at Stamford Bridge sticks in the memory as champions Chelsea were briefly halted last April, with the man-mountain Sakho marshalling the Palace back line to aplomb.

And with fans beginning to shudder at the thought of another impending battle against the drop, De Boer has acquired the perfect leader to help steady the ship and perhaps preserve the Dutchman’s short-term future in south London.

So far at least, Palace have looked a shambles defensively. An opening day thumping at home to Huddersfield Town was followed by defeats away at Liverpool and a painful loss to Swansea City at a nervy Selhurst Park just before the international break.

De Boer has already engaged in showdown talks with chairman Steve Parish, with the possibility of an early departure certainly not to be ruled out.

The notorious Premier League ‘sack race’ has had a habit of rearing its ugly head earlier in recent seasons and the 47-year-old is most definitely one fearing the chop.

A stay of execution will only be granted by an upturn in results and Sunday’s crunch visit to Burnley could yet prove vital.

Sakho hasn’t featured in the Premier League since last April but with the stakes already so high, De Boer would be forgiven for including the Frenchman in his match-day squad for the trip to Turf Moor.

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Palace’s precarious league position needs rectifying quickly and the 27-year-old’s arrival will most certainly boost their defensive options.

One of the keys to Sakho’s success in south London first time around was the command of respect he demanded from his team-mates, allowing him to develop into the natural leader that Allardyce had been yearning for.

The former Liverpool defender was immense under the most extreme of pressures and proved his worth as a top-class central defender.

It begs the questions – why were Liverpool so forthright in letting Sakho leave?

Well, there were rumours that the Frenchman had been under-performing in training leaving Jurgen Klopp to question his attitude and commitment.

Despite being far from watertight themselves defensively, Liverpool still deemed Sakho surplus to requirements and eventually lowered their initial valuation of the player to allow Palace to swoop in on deadline day.

The France international leaves Anfield with a point to prove and while De Boer’s short-term future remains under scrutiny, Sakho must once again lead from the front to ensure Palace rectify their early season woes.

It’s make or break time in south London and with games against Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all on the horizon, Sakho’s arrival could be timed to absolute perfection from a Crystal Palace perspective.

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