Crystal Palace winger Bakary Sako had been linked with Nottingham Forest before opting to join West Bromwich Albion last summer.
With the summer transfer window just around the corner, the Reds will be turning their attention to potential incomings over the next few weeks. Martin O’Neill’s side do still have a slight chance of making the play-offs, but they will most likely be competing in the Championship again next season.
It is well documented that the Reds are crying out for more options in wide areas. They have been far too reliant on Joe Lolley this season. No-one has been able to claim the position on the right-hand side as their own.
Matty Cash has often been utilised in that position by both Aitor Karanka and Martin O’Neill. But he isn’t going to be good enough moving forward in that position if the Reds are serious about promotion to the Premier League.
In this case, Sako is capable of playing on both the right and the left. The Mali international’s career has stalled since the 2014/15 campaign in which he scored 15 goals in 41 appearances for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship.
The Sun reported in September last year (09/09; Page 63) that both the Reds and West Brom were interested in signing the winger. The 30-year-old eventually decided to join the Baggies in October on a deal until the end of the season. He only made six appearances for the club though, before re-joining Palace in January.
And don’t be surprised if Sako makes a sudden return to the gossip columns. Because his contract at Selhurst Park expires at the end of June, meaning he will be a free agent again in just two months’ time.
He has only been able to make one appearance for the Eagles so far due to a calf problem. This means it’s unlikely that they will offer him a new contract.
Athletic, versatile and a threat going forward, Sako may be a risk worth taking considering that he will not cost a single penny.