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Crystal Palace agree Mamadou Sakho transfer pending a medical as Frank de Boer walks a tightrope

The Eagles look to have finally got their man, but Sakho will undergo a rigorous set of medical checks before signing. Palace are also assessing the market for coaches who could replace the under-pressure Frank De Boer

Ed Malyon,Jack Pitt-Brooke
Tuesday 29 August 2017 15:55 BST
Sakho has been frozen out by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
Sakho has been frozen out by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (Getty)

Crystal Palace are understood to have agreed a deal to bring back Mamadou Sakho to the club after the defender told Liverpool he doesn't want to join anyone else.

The Eagles have pursued a deal for the French international defender all summer after he impressed on loan last year, but came up against a club in Liverpool that were refusing to lower their demands for a £30m fee.

Sakho began the summer awaiting offers from Champions League clubs but, with the Reds' asking price putting off other suitors, he ends the window with Leicester, West Bromwich Albion and the Eagles in pursuit. A return to London is a no-brainer for the centre-back, who retains a strong relationship with Christian Benteke, and Liverpool would receive £20m up front, plus a number of clauses related to Premier League survival and cup success that could eventually bring the deal up to the £30m mark, in the deal that has been agreed in principle. The pending medical will be very thorough, with concerns over Sakho's knee injury that ended his loan spell at Selhurst Park in May.

Palace will also sign a goalkeeper on loan before Thursday night's deadline but even though current first-choice gloveman Wayne Hennessey is attracting interest from Newcastle United, the Wales international's departure remains difficult as it would force Palace back into what has been a difficult market this summer.

A back-up forward is also needed, while there could still be departures if it would ease the pressure to meet Financial Fair Play and short-term cost control measures handed down by the Premier League. Andros Townsend and Yohan Cabaye are attracting the most serious interest of Palace's first-team stars, though neither have an obvious place in Frank de Boer's first XI, while Martin Kelly is attracting interest from Burnley and Joel Ward's future continues to be unclear.

De Boer himself is clinging to his job though Palace are understood to be sounding out potential replacements for the Dutchman whose management style has been described as "cold" and, at times, "bizarre" by training ground insiders. Man management and an inability to coach the players into his 3-4-3 system have been a major issue both in the changing room and at board level, as well as indecision on transfer targets.

The Dutchman was desperate to take this job and rehabilitate his reputation in the Premier League after everything that happened at Inter. His camp insist he wants to stay with the club but was disappointed by some of the players presented to him as transfer options.

De Boer has been described as a "dead man walking" and it is still not entirely certain that he will take charge of another Palace game, but he is determined that he can succeed at Palace should he remain in charge and the club secure some key signings.

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