Report explains why Crystal Palace pulled plug on Bakary Sako return

Roy Hodgson, Manager of Crystal Palace reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on January 20, 2018 in London, England.

Bakary Sako was expected to return to Crystal Palace once Jason Puncheon joined Tony Pulis's Championship pacesetters Middlesbrough.

Bakary Sako of Crystal Palace celebrates after the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Watford at Selhurst Park on December 12, 2017 in London, England.

Three months after rejecting a new contract at Crystal Palace and leaving Selhurst Park, Bakary Sako was reportedly set to be offered a shock return to the Premier League side.

The 30-year-old winger has yet to find a new club. And, according to L’Equipe, Crystal Palace contacted him in order to discuss a potential fresh start under Roy Hodgson in English football’s top flight.

 

A fortnight later, however, and Sako is still a free agent and rumours of a return to London have dissipated somewhat.

London News Online has now shed light on why that is. It is claimed that Palace were forced to back out of a deal to bring Sako back to Selhurst Park after Jason Puncheon’s deadline-day switch to Middlesbrough collapsed.

Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace during the Pre-Season Friendly between Stevenage and Crystal Palace at The Lamex Stadium on July 24, 2018 in Stevenage, England.

Puncheon, who has been out of favour under Hodgson, was heavily tipped to reunite with former Eagles boss Tony Pulis at Boro. But a move to the Riverside never materialised, meaning there was no room in Palace’s 25-man Premier League squad for both Sako and Puncheon.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers favourite has been linked with a return to the Championship of late with Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and West Brom among those linked via the Sun (9 September, page 63).

Crystal Palaces French-born Malian midfielder Bakary Sako reacts to a missed chance at goal during the English FA Cup third round football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and...

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