Crystal Palace are still in the hunt to sign Mamadou Sakho this summer, despite repeatedly playing down their chances of signing the French international defender, but Kevin Wimmer and Ognjen Vranjes are alternatives should Liverpool refuse to budge on their asking price.
Sakho made a splash on loan at Selhurst Park last season, playing a huge part in the club's survival after arriving in the January transfer window. His season was ended by injury and, after such a stellar six months, the expectation was that a club playing European football would come in for the 27-year-old defender.
However, Liverpool succeeded in pricing the player's suitors out of the market, including Southampton who instead opted for Lazio centre-back Wesley Hoedt. Palace remain in the hunt and The Independent can reveal that Sakho's preferred destination would be Selhurst Park and a return to Palace.
The Reds, however, are still holding out for a deal north of £25m for the former Paris Saint-Germain captain and believe that in the current market they will get their asking price. Liverpool are also emboldened by the fact that Sakho has three years remaining on his contract with the club, meaning that even if no club meets their demands they could still loan him out and Sakho shouldn't lose any value next summer.
For Palace this complicates things, with the south Londoners having already signed the maximum of two loan players from fellow Premier League clubs after double-barreled double-act Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timothy Fosu-Mensah were signed from Chelsea and Manchester United respectively.
West Bromwich Albion could be the beneficiaries if the Paris-born defender ends up going out on loan, and the Baggies have just signed another former Eagles target in Oliver Burke, about whom Frank de Boer openly spoke of his interest in signing, and who was keen to reunite with "father figure" Dougie Freedman at Palace, before some quibbling over the financials handed Burke to the Baggies. Albion remain keen on a left-sided central defender and also retain an interest in another Palace fancy, Kevin Wimmer, though the Tottenham defender does not want to be shunted to left-back in Tony Pulis' narrow back four. Wimmer would prefer to stay in London but Tottenham's asking price is steep. Should it come down then Wimmer may well be a more likely recruit than Sakho.
Much of what West Brom do in defence could depend on Jonny Evans' future and there has been no renewed contact from Manchester City since their £18m bid was rejected, with City now analysing the possibility of signing Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson.
As for Sakho, Frank de Boer played down interest in the France international on his arrival in June and last week told reporters that the player was too expensive, something that remains true for a club desperate to abide by short-term cost control and financial fair play measures handed down by the Premier League. It is why a third option, Ognjen Vranjes of AEK Athens, has emerged as an alternative to the pricey duo of Wimmer and Sakho.
Palace ideally want a wide player, a goalkeeper, a central defender and a striker before Thursday's transfer deadline. Barcelona's versatile forward Munir, who spent last season on loan at Valencia, is available and of interest but the Nou Camp club want to shift him permanently rather than on loan.
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