Michael Mongie explains why Mamadou Sakho’s time is up at Liverpool after a turbulent year on Merseyside.
Seven months ago, discussing something like selling Mamadou Sakho would have resulted in a petition for Rousing the Kop to be disbanded.
Fast forward to September 2016, however, and it doesn’t seem as crazy.
Mamadou Sakho has had a year to forget. From being suspended as a result of taking ‘fat burners’ to breaking club rules on tour on three separate occasions, he has had a disastrous last few months.
Most recently, a nightmarish Snapchat outburst has confirmed fears that the Frenchman is far from Jürgen Klopp’s plans for the future.
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It would seem as though he will only feature for Liverpool again if there is a severe injury crisis. I would imagine that young Joe Gomez, who is still recovering from an injury setback, is still ahead of Sakho in the club’s centre-back pecking order.
Considering that the former Paris Saint-Germain captain was pivotal in Liverpool’s run to the Europa League final, it seems a bit bizarre that he is light years away from stepping out into the Autumn sunshine on an Anfield matchday wearing the Liverpool red.
What makes Sakho’s situation particularly worrisome is that it’s not an isolated scenario. The French centre-half was the captain at PSG under Antoine Kombouare and an essential cog in the PSG machine. When Carlo Ancelotti took over, however, things changed hugely as French football expert Jonathan Johnson explained in an article for ESPN FC.
“Under Antoine Kombouare, himself a former PSG player, he was indispensable,” Johnson wrote.
“But once Carlo Ancelotti replaced the Frenchman, he disagreed and benched Sakho before eventually stripping him of the captaincy.”
Johnson criticised Sakho and cited a number of “character flaws”, paying particularly close attention to “his attitude, a lack of discipline including poor dieting habits and fractious relationships with certain members of staff.”
“He arguably never embraced being a true professional,” Johnson added, later saying “not only was he exempt from criticism when it perhaps would have done him some good, but he was staunchly defended by the club and especially the fans.”
“The underlying belief is that neither Ancelotti nor [Laurent] Blanc rated Sakho as serious or reliable enough to lead PSG to the glory they seek,” he explained.
In what could sum Sakho up, Johnson wrote, “in essence, he needs to grow up.”
If this is not the first time that Sakho has experienced a deteriorating relationship with a coach at a club, then what will happen next? Last time, he was sold to Liverpool and all clues point to a move elsewhere. Klopp was evidently not happy with having Sakho at the club as evidenced by his decision to make him available for loan.
After Sakho refused to join several Premier League clubs and his ill-considered Snapchat outburst, he may find it harder to work his way back towards Klopp’s good books. To make matters worse, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are cementing their centre-back partnership and at this rate, only injury, suspension or divine intervention will split the solidity that has defined their short time together.
There is still plenty of time between now and January, and the next Summer transfer window, but Sakho has done himself no favours with his rash behaviour. At the end of the day, Klopp looks for true professionalism in his players and for several months you’d struggle to point out any examples of such behaviour from Sakho.
Sakho is too talented a defender to be left sitting on the bench and I think that was the thought behind Klopp’s decision to send him on loan. It was one thing to refuse to go on loan, but to then make things worse by not putting his head down and training to impress the gaffer is just nonsensical.
I would be gutted to see Mamadou Sakho leave Liverpool, but his place in Klopp’s team of gegenpressing professionals is not one that benefits the club’s mission of gradual and eventual domestic and European domination.
Many of you may disagree with me about this, which is okay. We all know that Liverpool has never been a club to tolerate egos or those who are unprofessional. If Sakho has take the fall for this message to be communicated then so be it.