If you don’t perform well on a consistent basis for the top clubs, then it won’t be long before they wield the axe and send you on your way, consigning you to a life of mid-table obscurity.
Supporters and players alike at Liverpool will be all too familiar with that eventuality, especially in recent years when director of football Michael Edwards has cultivated a reputation as being one of the most effective operators in the transfer market.
Several underperforming talents such as Christian Benteke, Dominic Solanke and Jordon Ibe have departed Anfield for substantial fees before dramatically failing to live up to expectations elsewhere.
However, arguably none have flopped as badly as Mamadou Sakho. The former France international arrived on Merseyside with high expectations after bursting onto the scene at boyhood club Paris Saint-Germain.
Sakho became PSG’s youngest-ever captain after he was appointed skipper at the age of just 17 years and eight months, highlighting his incredible potential.
Despite his early promise, though, the 6 ft 1 colossus struggled to make the transition from teenage prodigy to established first-team star, and a report from former ESPN reporter Jonathan Johnson back in 2013 illustrates why that was the case.
“His attitude, a lack of discipline including poor dieting habits and fractious relationships with certain members of staff, particularly in the early days, put his future at the club in jeopardy a long time ago,” he wrote (as relayed by Sports Joe).
“Many of his coaches were unhappy with his unprofessional demeanour, peaking with a nasty altercation with a journalist regarding his social habits, and PSG actually almost got rid of him as a teenager.
“However, at that time Sakho focused enough on his football to stay, although he arguably never embraced being a true professional,” Johnson concluded.
Sakho’s time at Liverpool was marred by similar incidents when he was banned by UEFA for failing a drugs test on 17 March 2016, due to taking slimming pills, and was then sent home from the club’s pre-season tour of the United States after a fallout with Jurgen Klopp.
Edwards’ decision to offload the centre-back proved to be one of many masterclasses from the accomplished Liverpool chief.
Due to various fitness issues, Sakho only turned out for the Eagles on 75 occasions over his four-year spell at Selhurst Park before returning to his homeland with Montpellier this summer on a free transfer.
Now valued at a mere £5.4m, it appears as though Liverpool parted ways with Sakho at precisely the right time, making a healthy profit and avoiding any further issues both on and off the field.