Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion have been linked with the player.

Crystal Palace’s search for a right-back goes on after West Ham United sealed the signing of Ryan Fredericks on a free.

And, according to the Standard, Roy Hodgson has now turned his attention towards Marseille’s Japanese international Hiroki Sakai as he aims to reinforce one of the weakest areas of his squad.

It is understood that Palace want to sign a player who would represent an upgrade on Joel Ward and believe that Sakai could be the man. And, while the 28-year-old is understood to be happy at the Ligue 1 giants, Marseille could be willing to sell so long as someone meets their £12 million price-tag.

The Standard adds that Sakai, who joined Marseille from Hannover in 2016, is also a target for Milan, Inter and Napoli. But, despite the chance to play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, Sakai is keen to prove himself in the Premier League as he approaches the peak of his career.

In another boost for Crystal Palace, fellow suitors Brighton and Leicester City have reservations about the defender’s price-tag, which could leave the Eagles free to do a deal with his £50,000-a-week wages comfortably within the London club’s budget.

Hodgson is understood to be a big fan of the promising youngster Aaron Wan-Bissaka but Sakai would offer far more experience.

He played in the final of the Europa League last season as Marseille lost 3-0 to Atletico Madrid.

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