Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho
Former Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce has told Sky Sports' The Debate that new Eagles signing Mamadou Sakho can have a big influence at Selhurst Park.
Frank de Boer's men have endured a miserable start to the season, losing 3-0 to Huddersfield Town, 1-0 to Liverpool and 2-0 to Swansea City, meaning they have conceded six goals in three games without even scoring themselves.
With questions already emerging over De Boer's future, Palace had to bring in reinforcements on transfer deadline day last week – but they could only add one signing to their ranks.
Defender Mamadou Sakho, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Selhurst Park, completed a permanent move back to South London late on deadline day, presenting Palace with a huge signing.
Whilst some wanted attacking additions after three goalless displays, shoring up the Palace defence was imperative, and Sakho should go a long way to solving some of De Boer's problems at the back.
The Frenchman, 27, was frozen out at Liverpool by manager Jurgen Klopp before sending him to Palace in January, and even after Sakho turned in a host of outstanding displays to help Palace stay in the Premier League, he still had no future at Anfield.
Palace have now swooped to sign Sakho on a permanent basis, and they will hope for immediate returns from the former Paris Saint-Germain ace when they travel to face Burnley this weekend.
Now, ex-Palace boss Sam Allardyce – who oversaw the deal to sign Sakho in January – has told Sky Sports' The Debate that he thinks Sakho is an important signing, and described just how he turned Palace's season around last season thanks to his immediate leadership and influence at the back, helping his team-mates further up the pitch; and Palace will be hoping for that instant impact again now he has returned.
“Mama Sakho is a big influence for me,” said Allardyce. “Mama had a lot to prove because he’d been blown out at Liverpool, and been with their Under-23’s, and he wanted to come and prove something. He took control of the defence, which meant less coaching for me, because you could leave it to him.
“He was talking, he was coaching, he was talking on the field, and he had an influence on the other players. All of a sudden, the goals stopped going in, the clean sheets started coming, and all the rest of the team gained confidence from that. They started to be more open and play a bit more, because they knew it was tight and secure at the back,” he added.