Opinion: Mamadou Sakho has no future at Liverpool, but how much can he fetch on the market?

Jurgen Klopp's decision to exile the Frenchman will not be reversed, but is their £30 million valuation realistic?

Opinion: Mamadou Sakho has no future at Liverpool, but how much can he fetch on
the market?
Above: Mamadou Sakho before his troubles at Liverpool began (Photo credit: MATTHEW ASHTON, Getty Images)

Despite calls for Mamadou Sakho to be brought back into the Liverpool first team fold, Jürgen Klopp has made a decision, and his mind will not be changed: Sakho has absolutely no future at Liverpool.

It is likely the club will try to get as much money for the defender as possible, a £30 million price tag supposedly mooted in recent months.

A former fans' favourite, the Frenchman scored an important goal to equalise on the night of Liverpool’s famous victory over Borussia Dortmund at the height of his Reds career, but his downfall was sudden and unexpected.

Why was he exiled?

The common theory is that Sakho’s drug ban was the reason behind Jürgen Klopp Klopp's decision to banish him from the Liverpool-first team, but that is far from the whole truth.

WADA and UEFA’s investigations initially found Sakho guilty of taking Higenamine, a fat-burning substance (the player is said to have historically had issues with controlling his weight), and a ban of 30 days.

Sakho missed Liverpool's Europa League final against Sevilla, and his lack of match action saw him left out of France’s squad for Euro 2016 in his homeland.

But in April 2016, it proved that the drug Sakho had taken should not have been flagged up as illegal; it should not have been on the banned list. Whilst he was cleared, the two major events – a European final at club level and a once-in-a-lifetime home tournament – would never be able to be replaced.

Liverpool accepted that Sakho did nothing wrong in terms of doping, but were angered at the fact that he had not told their medical staff about the drug, which is clear club policy, as with any top-level team. The club, and Klopp, took the view that Sakho had been disrespectful, and perhaps even arrogant, and that was not acceptable.

It was the beginning of the end for a relationship that soured and deteriorated quickly.

The pre-season tour to America last July was the final straw. Sakho was ill-disciplined throughout; arriving late for squad meetings, missing rehabilitation sessions and disrupting official LFCTV in-house TV interviews.

In a hugely important pre-season period, Sakho was the class clown, and crossed a line on too many occasions. Klopp accused the Frenchman of showing a "lack of respect", and he was therefore sent home before he could disrupt the squad even further.

His social media posts in the aftermath did nothing to help the situation, either.

Klopp had simply had enough, and chose to make an example of the French centre-back. It was ruthless – with no regard for cult-hero status among fans – and Sakho ended up playing and training with the under-23’s, before joining Crystal Palace on loan in January.

Michael Beale, then the Liverpool under-23 boss, praised his professionalism throughout his time there, but there was no way back.

Sakho - is he worth £30 million?

With the trouble over the Virgil van Dijk deal well-documented, the suggestion has been made that Sakho could be the answer instead, but there is no way that is going to happen.

Of course, there were times when Sakho performed well for Liverpool, not least the aforementioned game against Dortmund, but many look back on his time with the club with rose-tinted spectacles.

Sakho’s passing was never as lamentable as some suggested during the first few months of his time at Liverpool, but equally he was not perfect defensively and was a big part of Liverpool conceding goals on a regular basis.

He was present when Liverpool collapsed infamously at Crystal Palace in 2014, and was in the back-line when Liverpool lost 3-0 at Watford in December 2015. He was not the defensive rock that many seem to remember.

Sakho was a very decent player, but not one at the level Liverpool require. He is not better than Dejan Lovren, who would have been replaced with Van Dijk lining up alongside Joel Matip.

Regardless of his antics, Sakho would not be first choice by now anyway.

Liverpool say that even though they want rid of Sakho, he will only be sold for £30 million, a fee that both Crystal Palace and Stoke City have already decided is too much.

Liverpool know that it is a seller’s market, with inflated fees very much the norm. Even for all of his faults, Sakho is a French international and is vastly experienced, and Liverpool feel that fee is fair given the other transfers going to happen over the next few weeks.

Someone abroad is likely to come in for him, with Napoli and AS Roma rumoured destinations, and only then will we know whether the set fee is realistic, but the longer he remains, the more likely Liverpool are to accept a reduced fee.

Whether Liverpool can get the £30 million they desire is up for debate, but one thing is for sure: Sakho won't be at the club next season.

Liverpool FC