Despite the feelings of doom and gloom that have been hovering over SE25 in recent weeks, Mamadou Sakho’s permanent return to the club has put a smile on everyone’s face and as you can see just below, the big man is stepping up his preparations ahead of what is hopefully a quick return to first-team action.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) September 6, 2017
Having badly damaged his knee during a game towards the end of last season whilst still on loan to us, Mamadou has spent the entire summer doing intensive rehabilitation work in a bid to be ready for the start of the campaign. Sadly, thanks to Jurgen Klopp’s desperation to ostracise him from first-team affairs at Anfield, we have no way of knowing if he could have played any part in pre-season friendlies but if the video above is anything to go by, he doesn’t look too far away from a first-team return.
When the Frenchman was nominated for the club’s Player of the Year award, plenty outside the Palace bubble scoffed but to those of us who had watched the team week in, week out throughout the 2016/17 season, the centre-back’s impact on our results really was immeasurable. Leading by example each and every week, his energy, leadership and general quality made a massive difference to our confidence both in and out of possession, with those behind the scenes at Selhurst clearly hoping he can work a similar sort of magic now that he’s back for good.
Quite how Frank de Boer will look to use him remains something of a mystery, with many Palace fans suggesting that Sakho’s arrival had nothing to do with the Dutchman. Obviously, I’d have faith in Mama to flourish in any defensive set-up based on previous performances but with the manager seemingly torn between sticking to a back three and bending his principles to implement a flat back four, his use of Sakho will certainly be interesting to observe.
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