When Liverpool announced on deadline day they had signed French defender Mamadou Sakho, many Kopites were left wondering who exactly they had brought into Anfield. To the avid gamer and lover of the Football Manager series he’s a player you would have probably known about for years, but a relative unknown if you only follow English football.
He arrived from Paris Saint Germain along with Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon for a combined fee of £25million. In a nutshell, Sakho is a tall, strong central defender born and bred in Paris of Senegalese descent. He has been an ever-present in the PSG side since the 2007/2008 season when he broke into the first XI as a 17-year-old.
His progression at the club was rapid as he quickly became a regular starter, before becoming the club’s European captain – due to veteran Claude Makélélé’s ineligibility in the competition – before being made the club’s permanent captain in the 2011/2012 season. Sakho was also an integral part of the side which won their first Ligue 1 title in nine years. Overall, Sakho made 151 appearances for PSG, scoring seven goals, before completing his transfer to Liverpool.
But what can Liverpool fans expect this season from Mamadou Sakho under Brendan Rodgers?
In many ways, Sakho can be viewed as a more experienced version of one of their own players; Andre Wisdom. Both have captained their international side at junior level, both are tall and powerful, and both can be deployed in both the centre-back and full-back positions.
Where they differ, however, is that Sakho has had the fortune to have been given a lot more first team experience. This experience has lead to him breaking into the French national side where he has now gone on to make 14 appearances since being given his debut by Laurent Blanc against England in November 2010.
Liverpool fans certainly have much to be excited about for this season. To this point they are three games in, have earned the maximum nine points ahead of tonight’s game against Swansea, and kept three clean sheets including their 1-0 win over arch-rivals Manchester United. The squad has been strengthened in every department by Rodgers, which has lead to a sense of optimism in the red-half of Liverpool.
Where Liverpool fans must surely be most pleased is in their defensive ranks. Rodgers’ first signing of the summer was Kolo Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City.
Toure found it hard to get regular first team football at the Etihad Stadium which led Rodgers to snap him up and bring him to Anfield. Toure has quickly established himself as Jamie Carragher’s replacement, bringing a wealth of Premier League experience and footballing nous to the table.
With Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel already on the books, the addition of Sakho will provide good competition for a starting berth. Sakho can also be deployed as a left full-back, meaning that he can also provide cover for Jose Enrique and Aly Cissokho in a position which desperately needed strengthening.