Amid murmurings that Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is being made available for a loan, Stoke City have emerged as frontrunners to acquire his services before the end of the transfer window.
Having begun the season a little shakily in defensive terms, with Stoke shipping four times to Manchester City in their first home game, Mark Hughes is thought to be very keen to bring Sakho to the Potteries.
The French defender has endured the most curious fall from grace at Anfield having spent much of the previous season endearing himself to the Kop, before a dramatic change in fortunes with news of a failed drugs test emerging in March.
Although Sakho has since been fully exonerated of the offence by Uefa, controversy stalked the former Paris Saint-Germain captain again this summer, as he was sent home by Jurgen Klopp for apparent misdemeanours on Liverpool’s tour of the USA.
Now the party line coming from Klopp is that his player needs time to rebuild his fitness after an interrupted pre-season, but doing that away from Anfield casts a shadow over his long-term Liverpool future.
Stoke won’t mind if the left-sided centre-half can reproduce the levels of performances he did last season, down in the Potteries.
After something of an inauspicious start to life on Merseyside following a big £18m move, the French international’s Liverpool career sparked last season, where he led the team for average defensive clearances across the Premier League and Europa League.
Sakho also boasts a pass completion rate touching the 90 per cent mark in the top flight.
With Stoke having only kept a pair of clean sheets across their last 20 Premier League outings, Potters fans would probably be delighted to see the Liverpool outcast bolster Hughes’ ranks.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.