Mamadou Sakho faces another summer of uncertainty as Crystal Palace actively pursue alternatives, having insisted they will not meet Liverpool’s £30 million valuation of the centre-back.
The 27-year-old had held discussions with the Selhurst Park side, in which he agreed personal terms over a permanent transfer, following his influential loan spell last season.
Popular with their fanbase and in the dressing room, as well as having settled effortlessly with his family in London during his short stint, Sakho had hoped the switch would be a formality.
However, negotiations between Liverpool and Palace were far from progressive with the Reds refusing to reduce their price and the Eagles adamant they would not spend so much on a player as new manager Frank de Boer shapes his squad.
There was hope from chairman Steve Parish that the Merseysiders would soften their stance given the Frenchman’s desire to join them, coupled with the fact he does not feature in Jurgen Klopp’s plans.
But, as was the case with Christian Benteke, who became Palace’s record signing last summer for £32m, Liverpool would not budge.
Despite feeling the fee was “madness” a deal was eventually sanctioned for the Belgian striker, but in this instance, other options are being worked on by the Eagles in defence.
Moves for Jairo Riedewald and Bruno Martins Indi are at an advanced stage, with Sakho left in limbo.
Given the scramble for centre-backs this summer, as well as the previous interest shown in the former Paris Saint-Germain man, Liverpool are confident they will receive the quoted amount for him.
Roma have considered a move for Sakho for the past three summers, while Southampton and Napoli have also made enquiries before.
The player’s camp has made it clear to the Anfield side, however, that they will not simply accept a transfer to the highest bidder - the club and city will need to be the right fit.
Sakho, who has been working on his fitness at Melwood having suffered bruised and strained knee ligaments at the end of April, will not be involved in Liverpool’s tour of Hong Kong and it would be a surprise if he features in any of the preparations for 2017-18.
Midfielder Lucas Leiva, meanwhile, is the subject of a £5m bid from Lazio and is expected to miss Friday night’s friendly with Wigan as he discusses the finer details of a move having given the Reds 10 years of service.