In Focus: Southampton line up £20m bid for defender; should have got him in January

According to reports in the Daily Mirror, Southampton are said to be lining up a £20m move for Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho.

What’s the story, then?

Well, the Saints are looking to bring in a new centre-back this summer whether captain Virgil van Dijk leaves the club or not, and they are being linked with a £20m move for the France international.

Sakho fell out of favour under Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after being sent home from the club’s pre-season trip to America last year, and he joined Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the campaign during the January transfer window.

How’s he done at Selhurst Park?

It’s been so far, so good for the Frenchman.

After the Eagles’ 1-0 defeat against Stoke City at the start of February, they were 19th in the table and had conceded five goals in their last two matches – they were thrashed 4-0 at home to Sunderland the week before.

Sakho was brought into the starting line-up for their next match at home to Middlesbrough, and Palace won that one and their next two Premier League fixtures – without conceding a goal – to move themselves up to 16th position and four points above the relegation zone.

Wasn’t he linked with Southampton before?

Yes, he was.

Following the departure of Jose Fonte to West Ham and the injury suffered by Van Dijk against Leicester in January – he is still on the sidelines now – Saints boss Claude Puel was said to be keen on bringing the Liverpool outcast to St Mary’s.

However, the transfer/loan fee or the Frenchman’s wages must have been the problem, as he subsequently joined Palace on deadline day.

What’s changed now, then?

It’s difficult to say.

Maybe Southampton are realising that they may need to spend big on an experienced defender this summer in case Van Dijk does leave, and they are obviously willing to break their transfer record to do so.

Would he be a good signing?

From what we’ve seen at Palace in his last three appearances, he absolutely would be.

If Saints could add Sakho and keep Van Dijk, Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares during the summer, they would have one of the best defences in the Premier League.