Amidst a striker crisis at Crystal Palace during winter, Roy Hodgson decided to roll the dice on signing West Brom’s Bakary Sako on a short deal in January. Little did he know that the problem would only get worse, as the 31-year-old’s made nothing of an impression in the last few months with the Eagles.
While he had a decent tenure with Palace during his earlier stint years ago, Sako’s been left behind in the cold by the Premier League’s intensity. Indeed, he’s only made 3 appearances so far, those too coming as a substitute. Frankly, he just isn’t clinical enough or fast enough to cause problems for the opposition going forward. Even in his substitute performances, he’s been highly lethargic and barely involved in attacking moves.
Despite having the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend supporting him, Sako just isn’t lethal enough to unsettle defences anymore. He’s lost that clinical edge to his game which made him an unpredictable figure, while not being especially quick with his movement or tricky with his work on the ball. Thankfully for the Eagles, they only signed him on a short deal so they won’t have to tolerate him beyond the season.
Still, it was a pretty awful move.
As it stands, it’s inevitable that Sako’s leaving in the summer. However, on the worrying sign for him, his disappointing tenure at Palace surely means no Premier League team will risk signing him anymore. The only logical path seems to be the Championship, but Sako really needs to work on his fitness to impress clubs.
Once a menacing attacker who could terrorize opposition with his pace, he’s now struggling to even move past defenders. Redemption could arrive in the second division if he joins the team which can amplify his talent. He’ll need to be surrounded by promising players, who he can guide on how to move forward and dictate the games better.
He might not be the fastest anymore but can use the experience to trouble defence, tapping into his creative edge to benefit his team. Next season’s probably the last roll of the dice for Sako and if he fails to impress at his next club, he’s done for good.
Palace fans, would you be disappointed to see Sako leave? Join the discussion by commenting below…