After completing his permanent move to Crystal Palace, Mamadou Sakho revealed that his experiences in south London last season meant that Selhurst Park was his number one choice to play football this season.
The centre-back penned a four-year contract with the Eagles just before the transfer window closed, and he was delighted that he could return to the club having starred for Palace in an eight-game loan spell last season, and admitted he couldn’t wait to see some familiar faces again.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Sakho’s first stint with the Eagles last term ended prematurely after he suffered a serious knee injury in April, however he is on the road to recovery and is hoping to be back in red and blue stripes sooner rather than later.
“I feel really good and trained really hard to try to come back at 100% level,” he added. “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.”
Having successfully helped Palace beat the drop last season, the 27-year-old is hoping that there won’t be the same struggles this term, despite the Eagles failing to win a point from their first three Premier League games. Sakho is confident that the quality in the squad is good enough to get them out of trouble, and is looking forward to working with Frank de Boer for the first time.
“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 said. “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.”