Mamadou Sakho has revealed why returning to Selhurst Park was always his preferred destination this summer.
After completing a transfer deadline day move worth around £26m from Liverpool to Crystal Palace, Mamadou Sakho has revealed why returning to Selhurst Park was always his preferred destination this summer.
Sakho made eight appearances for Crystal Palace on loan in the latter half of the 2016/17 campaign, helping the Eagles to avoid relegation, and the French defender admitted he couldn't wait to return, having penned a four-year deal with the North London side.
In a statement on the Crystal Palace club website, the 27-year-old stated just how eager he was to return
He said: "I loved the challenge last year; it was difficult but beautiful and it’s why this summer I thought that Palace was the best choice,
"I am really happy to be here because I have some friends here. I still keep in touch with Christian, Wilf, Bakary and Yohan Cabaye, as well as Jason Puncheon. We had a really good ambiance last year and so we still speak to each other."
After his first stint with Crystal Palace was cut short by a serious knee injury, Sakho has been working himself back to full fitness over the summer at Liverpool's training camp, Melwood, and will be hoping to be fit enough to pull on the Palace jersey sooner rather than later.
Speaking on his injury, he said: "I feel really good and trained really hard to try to come back at 100% level. I am still having treatment and I’m starting to train again, so we’ll see with the doctor and the physio how far away I am to starting a full game."
Palace's acquisition of Sakho for the tail end of last season may have proven crucial to them beating relegation, and fans will be hoping he will have a similar, positive impact on the Eagles in the new campaign.
After spending the summer training with Liverpool, Sakho is eager to return to training with Palace and to work under new boss, Frank de Boer.
"I am really excited about playing for the Palace fans again, but in football the past is the past and you need to think about today and tomorrow,” he added. "Last year we did a good job and we need to prove that again and have a good objective. If we put all of our power together, we will have a great season.
"I think we also have a really good manager with a lot of experience. He has a new football mentality and we have a great squad so we just need to work hard, and I think that everything will be better soon.
"I fought for PSG for many years and was proud to do that, and I did that as well for Liverpool. Today is a new story for me; I will start to fight again for Palace and I’m proud at the same level. Whatever shirt I wear I give 100%, and I will try to give my best here."