Mamadou Sakho has spent the first week or so of his summer break from football in Africa, where he is doing his best to help the continent’s children (including the donation of a serious amount of Palace merchandise) but yesterday, the French international gave his view on a potential bid for World Cup bound Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Whilst you don’t often expect to see players discussing transfer deals that don’t directly involve them, Mamadou’s willingness to talk about a move for Ruben highlights the openness that the whole club has had in recent weeks over our desire to sign the 22-year-old on a permanent basis.
Should he light up the World Cup, the chances of him being allowed to leave Chelsea for Palace are almost non-existent but even so, there’s no harm in our players and coaches turning on the charm in the press in the time prior to the tournament getting underway.
It’s worth highlighting that, for all the faith Chelsea say they have in Ruben, he simply would not be going out to Russia as part of Gareth Southgate’s squad without the platform Palace have given him over the course of the 2017/18 season. Of course he would like to return to Stamford Bridge and burst straight into the first-team at the start of the next campaign but should he be stuck on the bench once more, I’d wager that his gaze would focus on Selhurst Park rather quickly.
Under Hodgson, Loftus-Cheek knows that he would get game-time in a role that plays to his strengths rather than forcing him to conform to a system that stifles his natural style. Yes, we’ll struggle to reach the heights that Chelsea will next season, that goes without saying but for a player who has now felt the buzz of a Premier League campaign in which he’s playing week after week, you would imagine the prospect of watching on from the sidelines is far from appealing.
I for one am happy to see Sakho being so honest about his hope of seeing Ruben return to SE25. Let’s hope we’re in a position to make Mamadou’s wish a reality at some point within the next two months or so.