Former Liverpool star reveals why he snubbed Barca, Arsenal to join Reds
Former Liverpool centre-half Mamadou Sakho has revealed that he passed up the opportunity to sign for Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in order to put pen to paper with the Reds.
The Frenchman, now 30, departed boyhood club Paris Saint-Germain in 2013.
Already a fully-fledged France international, a lengthy queue of suitors including many of Europe’s elite lined up.
At the time, Liverpool were coming off the back of a disappointing 2012-13 campaign in which they failed to secure European football for the following season.
The January window arrivals of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge had breathed new life into Brendan Rodgers’ team, however, and Sakho was convinced making a “dream” move to Anfield was the right decision, much to the dismay of Barcelona and co.
Now, speaking to Stadium Mag (via Goal) Sakho went into detail regarding his decision to move to Merseyside.
“When I left Paris Saint-Germain, I had a number of offers from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Liverpool,” said the current Crystal Palace defender.
“I choose Liverpool because they were one of the clubs of my dreams with a great history.
“I had the chance to spend four years there in the Reds’ shirt at Anfield with a fantastic crowd.
“I had very good relationships with my board and I played alongside great talents like [Luis] Suárez, [Philippe] Coutinho, [Daniel] Sturridge and Steven Gerrard. I lived exceptional moments with those players.”
After a nervy start, Sakho went on to become a cult favourite at Anfield, with his performances at the back instrumental in their charge to the 2016 Europa League final.
Sakho would ultimately miss that showpiece occasion after incurring a suspension for failing an anti-doping test, and within six months, was loaned out to Crystal Palace where he would eventually sign on a permanent basis.
Since joining the Eagles, Sakho has become an integral part of Roy Hodgson’s backline, and despite his age, retains hopes of breaking back into the national team after football’s return from the coronavirus hiatus.
“The goal is to come back very strong. I’m working hard to be in top shape.
“I want to play with Crystal Palace while having the national team in a corner of my mind. I’m only 30. As I say, when you’re born ambitious, you die ambitious. There are many talented players in France.
“We’re lucky to have an extraordinary pool. I’m first going to give my best for Crystal Palace, for the fans. Then, when you play well on the pitch, the national team comes with it.
“I’m very happy here. My children have adapted very well, and my two daughters are more English than French. They’ve learnt to read English. I feel at home in England.
“You can never predict anything in a career, but today, I’m happy and settled at Crystal Palace where I have a year-and-a-half left on my contract. I’m happy here for now, but we never know what tomorrow is made of. I don’t especially want to see elsewhere for now.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool have opened talks with Inter Milan over the transfer of a £52m midfield maestro, but face a tough battle to complete the deal.