Mamadou Sakho

Paris Saint-Germain Defender Mamadou Sakho Completes £16m Move to Liverpool

Mamadou SakhoLiverpool have completed some shrewd acquisitions to their squad during the summer transfer window, especially in defense. The Reds looked vulnerable in defense this pre-season with the loss of Jamie Carragher to retirement earlier in the summer, and with the recent news of Sebastian Coates suffering a season-ending injury while on international duty, it didn’t look all too bright in the back.

Liverpool looked short of center-backs with only Martin Skrtel, Martin Kelly, and Andre Wisdom able to partner Daniel Agger in central defense, but the addition of Kolo Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City has added quality and experience to their defensive line. Liverpool added another two defenders on the last day of the transfer window with the signings of Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon and Mamadou Sakho from Paris Saint Germain. Ilori is only 20 years old but stands at 6′ 3″ and is very quick, while 23 year-old Sakho is a French international that has made 14 appearances for his country and has played 151 times for Paris Saint Germain. Tiago Ilori might not go straight into the team and be a certain prospect for the future, but Sakho could easily become a regular starter for Liverpool this season.

Sakho is still very young but is also very experienced. He plays primarily as a center-back but can also play as a left-back if necessary. He is renowned for his leadership and hard-working attitude as well as his great tackling abilities. Sakho is an intimidating sight - standing at 6′ 2″ - and almost always has an eccentric hair style. The French International made his debut for Paris Saint Germain in October of 2007 when manager Paul Le Guen gave the defender his first chance. On his league debut, he became the youngest ever player to captain a Ligue 1 club after wearing the armband in the club’s 0-0 draw with Valenciennes.

Sakho’s playing style is often compared to that of former French International Lilian Thuram. He has earned caps and captained France at every youth level before being capped at senior level. Sakho helped lead Paris Saint Germain to their 2008 Coupe de la Ligue victory after playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 win over Lens. The victory earned Sakho his first major trophy of his career, and he made a total of 16 appearances during the season.

Mamadou SakhoThe following season Sakho madea much-larger 34 appearances and helped Paris Saint Germain to second in the league. The defender has a wealth of experience for someone so young and Liverpool have targeted him as the ideal player for their defense by paying a sum of £16 million for his service. Liverpool are quite a small team in terms of height, which can leave them vulnerable at set-pieces, so Sakho’s physique and height will help Liverpool in these situations.

The leadership that Jamie Carragher gave to the team was so important as most of Liverpool’s defenders are quiet, so Sakho will be a great replacement for Carragher’s leadership skills, as he is very good at organizing the back line. Liverpool have struggled against big, powerful strikers during the last couple of seasons, so Mamadou Sakho’s arrival will help deal with that problem because he is a physical defender who is not scared to put his foot in.

Liverpool’s squad is looking stronger this season with the wonderful additions that Brendan Rodgers has made. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad and plenty of competition for places in every position. During the summer, it looked like Liverpool were going to be very short of defenders and strikers, although the midfield department looked strong. The Reds also looked like they were going to lose their star striker Luis Suarez, so keeping him has been massive achievement for the club as he tried to manufacture a move away for most of the summer. Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool’s owners dealt with Suarez superbly and it seems like he is now happy to stay and continue his career at Liverpool for at least another season.

Liverpool also signed Victor Moses from Chelsea on a season-long loan, which will help Liverpool’s attack and the development of youngsters like Sterling, Ibe and Morgan. But Liverpool’s defense suddenly also looks very strong, with Johnson, Kelly, Flanagan, and Wisdom competing for right-back position and Wisdom, Kelly, Ilori, Sakho, Agger, and Skrtel competing for the two positions in the center of defense. Liverpool also have options at left-back with Enrique and new signing Cissokho when he returns from injury, while there is also the option of switching Glen Johnson to left-back as well.

Liverpool don’t have the added fixtures this season that the inclusion in European competition creates, so that will help Liverpool concentrate on challenging for a top four place. In only Brendan Rodgers’ second season in charge, his team are now starting to take shape after moving players out who don’t suit his style of play and bringing players in that could take Liverpoool forward, and Mamadou Sakho will certainly play a major role in Liverpool’s success.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin

About these ads
Jamie Carragher

An Absolutely Crazy Week in English League Football

Unfortunately, this past week has been plagued with issues not so pleasant within the game.

A player trying to force a transfer from a side sitting nicely in mid-table to a side planted rock bottom, a player of the same team dismissed for spitting at a fellow professional, and a handful of players in court for something I’d much rather not comment on.

Jamie Carragher to Retire at the End of the Season

Jamie CarragherWith all this going on I was losing hope of finding something positive to write about, then at 12:48 Thursday, I received a text which finally drew some influence for me to write something positive after a difficult 7 days:

“Carragher going :’(

Retiring. Too soon!! Very proud though.”

This text allowed me to pay tribute to an individual in the game who deserves so much praise.

I’m not from Liverpool, I’m not even a Liverpool fan. But I do have friends very close to me who are and I know exactly what is required to succeed at that club. I found this out at my mate’s late great uncle’s bungalow, which was pretty much The Kop with a doorbell.

Everything these great fans asked for, Carragher gave it to them along with much, much more! The cliches all fitted him well. The “model professional,” “the last of a dying breed;” he most definitely ticked all those boxes.

Carragher & Scholes for me are the 2 role models of the modern game, but the difference between the two was that Carragher spoke, and when he did you just had to listen. Ill never forget the famous phone call to an unsuspecting Adrian Durham who accused him of being a “bottler” for retiring from England.

If you could list every single descriptive word for a sportsman, the one on the bottom of the list to describe Jamie Carragher would be “Bottler;” if you don’t believe me, find the DVD for Istanbul (if you can’t find it, my mate Ronny may have a copy).

The football field & Liverpool FC may have lost a legend, but I’m sure the game of football hasn’t, as I’m certain that Jamie will remain in the game. The one question that remains, though, is will it be in a coaching role, or will he follow Gary Neville into the pundit world.

I’m sure which ever route he decides to take, he will excel the same way he did in the Liverpool defense.

Was Moussa Sissoko Linked With Aston Villa?

Moussa SissokoDuring the January transfer window, I read one or two rumors linking Aston Villa to French midfielder Moussa Sissoko. If these rumors are true, I want to know: who us responsible for not making this happen?

I believe this lad will be a top signing for Alan Pardrew at Newcastle, with clear evidence from his performance last Saturday vs. Chelsea. On Wednesday Ashley Cole collected his 100th England cap. Last Saturday, Sissoko made him look more like a Conference South full-back rather than possibly the best left-back in the last 10 years.

Negativity From Stoke City Supporters

Not sure whether it is the small minority or the majority opinion of the fans, but I must warn the Potters that the grass isn’t always greener.

If you don’t believe me, ask any fan who has a season ticket at the Reebok Stadium or the Valley.

A Possible Peter Odemwingie Move to Crystal Palace?

My only thought on this that he will certainly have more chance of playing Premier League football next season at Palace than he would at QPR.

Written by Matthew Passant