Only a week or so ago, Eagles boss Roy Hodgson began making positive noises in the press over the potential return of winger Bakary Sako, revealing that the Mali international had been in contact with Dougie Freedman to see if our previous contract offer was still on the table; now though, it looks as though a number of Championship clubs have thrown their hat into the ring for the free agent.
Now 30, the wide-man’s time in SE25 had looked set to fizzle out altogether until Roy Hodgson arrived in September of 2017, when a squad-wide injury crisis forced the gaffer into experimenting with Bakary in a striker’s role, prompting a rather spectacular run of goal-scoring form. Without the services of Christian Benteke, Sako’s sizeable frame was deployed at the head of the side, seemingly reigniting the big man’s spark. He’d always been known as an attacker with a cannon of a left foot but under the former England gaffer’s guidance he truly was a man reborn, only slowing down when picking up a nasty injury away to West Ham at the end of January.
Predictably, Bakary was offered fresh terms by the Palace backroom team but decided to turn them down in favour of a fresh challenge, only for him to remain without a club in the opening weeks of the campaign. The news of a possible return was met with mixed emotions by the Palace faithful when it came out prior to the international break but with Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest all now believed to be attempting to woo the winger, we may well find ourselves ignored by him once more.
For me, Sako’s services would be of use to our group in the here and now, given the lack of depth we have in wide areas but only as a weekly wage which is lower than his previous deals. Yes, when he’s on his game he’s a formidable force but as we saw in his first spell, those sort of performances cannot always be counted upon from him. Taking his advancing years into account, it would seem foolish to throw a sizeable chunk of cash at him only to be lumbered with further long-term injuries in the immediate future.
We’ll keep an eye on it.