Crystal Palace are among three Premier League clubs looking to secure the signing of Mamadou Sakho before the end of the summer transfer window.
Sakho has been training alone since returning to Melwood at the beginning of pre-season, as he remains out of favour under Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp has pushed forward with Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez as his centre-back options, with a deal for Southampton‘s Virgil van Dijk in the offing.
This leaves Sakho needing to seal a move away from Liverpool before Thursday’s transfer deadline, with interest mounting.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds are “confident” of negotiating a £30 million deal for the France international, whose contract expires in 2020.
They report that, along with Palace, Leicester City and West Brom are hopeful of signing Sakho.
But the Eagles “remain favourites,” as the defender’s “preference is to return to Selhurst Park,” having excelled on loan there in the second half of 2016/17.
Liverpool are said to believe the level of interest in Sakho will allow them to demand their full valuation for the 27-year-old.
This comes despite there being just three days to finalise his exit, and clear indications that he is not wanted on Merseyside.
Palace’s heightened interest in Sakho likely stems from their poor start to the season, with Frank de Boer presiding over three consecutive losses in the Premier League so far.
The Dutchman held talks with Palace chairman Steve Parish on Monday, in the aftermath of their latest defeat at home to Swansea City, and is said to be “clinging” to his position.
The withdrawal of centre-back James Tomkins through injury midway through that frustration at Selhurst Park has magnified the need for Palace to sign another defender.
But West Brom will also be desperate to add Sakho to Tony Pulis’ ranks if Man City are successful in their pursuit of Jonny Evans.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s ageing duo of Wes Morgan and Ronald Huth are in need to upgrading on, with the arrival Sakho to join summer arrival Harry Maguire an interesting prospect.
Liverpool find themselves in a surprisingly strong position in the closing stages of the transfer window, in terms of both ins and outs.
With the signing of RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita sealed for next summer, they will be pushing forward with moves to bring in Van Dijk and AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar before Thursday night.
Sakho should be followed through the Anfield exit by Lazar Markovic, as well as loanees such as Ryan Kent and Allan Rodrigues.