Mamadou Sakho

With the news that Liverpool will let Mamadou Sakho leave this summer for a transfer fee of at least £30m, can Crystal Palace really afford to buy him?

Without doubt Mamadou Sakho is one of our top two signings of the season. Personally, I am split between Sakho and Luka Milivojevic for who has been the best signing.

But with up to twelve players needing to be replaced in the summer the question is, can we really afford to spend £30m on one player when we have so many positions to fill?

As many of you will know, last summer we spent quite a bit of money on Tomkins, Manadanda, Townsend and Benteke but the net spend was only £11m because we sold Bolasie, McCarthy and Jedinak.

We didn’t end up doing the kind of business we needed to do and we were probably too distracted with getting Benteke over the line to have seen the bigger picture in terms of squad depth.

January came around and we had a new manager who knew what he needed to do. Thankfully he was given the money with which to do it. Big Sam duly spent £30m on Schlupp, van Aanholt and Milivojevic plus whatever we paid to Liverpool for loaning Sakho.

That took out net spend on transfers to roughly £41m-£45m, depending on the loan fees.

As I mentioned, we have up to twelve players of the 25 man squad who’ll need replacing this summer. They would be:

Out of Contract Need Replacing
Mathieu Flamini
Loic Remy (loan expires)
Mamadou Sakho (loan expires)
Zeki Fryers
Damien Delaney
Bakary Sako
Frazier Campbell
Lee Chung-yong
Jordan Mutch
Wayne Hennessey
Steve Mandanda
Joe Ledley

This isn’t including other players that a lot of fans want replacing such as Joel Ward and Andros Townsend but we’ll also have two players back from injury in Connor Wickham and Pape Souare.

Baring in mind that Steve Parish said on Sky after a recent home game that the level of spending we’ve done this season can’t continue because of FFP (Financial Fair Play) rules it makes you wonder how much we can spend this summer.

Let’s be generous and take £60m as a figure. That is £60m net spend plus whatever money we can generate from selling the players who need replacing. I don’t think we’ll generate much income from selling them but even if we do we have to replace them.

So £60m on ten players? Let’s make it even easier and say we’ll keep the players who need replacing.

Okay, that’s now £60m on five players or £12m a player. That’s not so bad because Milivojevic, Sclupp and van Aanholt didn’t cost more than that a piece.

That’s fine and dandy but if we spend £30m on Sakho that’ll leave £30m on 4 players and that narrows down the quality we can get.

I think Sakho has been a brilliant player for us but can 8 games warrant a £30m outlay? Can we really be that lucky by picking up free transfers? We haven’t in the past buy then in the past we didn’t have Big Sam and his team, did we?

It really is a tough decision to make because some fans seem to think we can spend £100m because that is the rumoured money we’ll get from Sky for this season but as I said, FFP doesn’t work like that! It’s based on income through attendance designed to protect clubs from over spending should relegation happen.

It could be argued that we spend beyond out means this season in order to stay up and maybe we’ve spent a little of the money we would have budgeted for next season?

Whatever the case, I have not spoken to one fan yet who can understand why we had to sell Bolasie to fund the transfer of Benteke. We should have been able to afford him.

But that said, with big transfers comes big wages and the £60m on players fees in’t including their wages and agent fees. To progress as a club we need to invest in infrastructure, the stadium, youth academy and so on.

So can we really afford to pay £30m plus wages for Sakho? Can we get two good centre backs for £15m each instead? Something has to give because maybe four £15m players is a better alternative than one £30m player and three £10m players.

All we can agree on is we can’t afford to mess the transfer window up this summer because we will get relegated but will Parish break his grip on the purse strings?

Maybe the real question isn’t can we afford to buy Sakho but can we afford not to buy Sakho?