Liverpool’s unfathomably strange approach to squad member contract negotiations continue, with defender Mamadou Sakho the latest Anfield star involved.
The Guardian report the Reds to have offered the French international a new long-term deal at the club he joined from Paris Saint-Germain in 2013.
Although he is currently under contract until June 2017, it is thought that Liverpool are offering Sakho an extension and a £25,000-a-week wage increase in order to see off interest from Bayer Leverkusen and Roma.
Shrewd move. Or it would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that the 25-year-old centre-half who acquired the nickname ‘The Beast’ in his teenage years hadn’t failed to so much as make the squad for Liverpool’s first two games of the season.
Dejan Lovren is understood to have been told that he will be Brendan Rodgers’ first choice in the position this term, while the aged Kolo Toure was also selected ahead of Sakho on the bench.
It might be argued that the Frenchman was being kept on ice due to on-going transfer wranglings, shortly to be reinstated to automatic first choice – as would be expected of a player being offered a new long-term deal and a 33% pay rise.
Yet Sakho made only 16 starts last term and 18 the one before that, far from illustrating a particularly elevated position in manager Rodgers’ affections.
The logic behind a new deal for the defender is impenetrable, yet such an approach to employment agreements will not come as surprise to Liverpool supporters after last season.
Previous near-sighted planning had led to a situation in which the contracts of leading lights such as Martin Skrtel, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling were all at a stage where they needed to be renegotiated.
Skrtel was initially offered a deal worth less than his previous one, despite having been the club’s most consistent defender during several prior campaigns.
Henderson, meanwhile, was offered a deal £20,000-a-week short of the one he desired even though he had been virtually ever-present amid the ever-changing formations of the 2013/14 season.
That the club would play games with the future of a man whose importance to the cause was illustrated by the way the side went down the tubes when he was suspended in the last few games of that fateful campaign is hard to comprehend.
Unlike Henderson, who had already been acknowledged by Steven Gerrard as the legend’s likely successor by the time the ham-fisted negotiators moved in, there was a hint that Raheem Sterling may have been open to move away from the club.
Yet, the ridiculous way in which Liverpool handled the deal (unleashing the hounds of the press in a effort to morally scold Sterling into signing a new deal) undoubtedly helped make up the talented young forward’s mind.