Five Premier League clubs for Wolves wing wizard Bakary Sako
Wolverhampton Wanderers came up agonisingly short of making the Championship play-offs, missing out on goal difference. Star wideman Bakary Sako has once again done more than his fair share to make Molineux a successful place, but is now out of contract.
This raises question marks over the Mali winger’s future, and Wolves CEO Jez Moxey has revealed there is plenty of Premier League interest in him.
“If he [Sako] does leave he will go with our very best wishes,” Moxey told the tabloids. “He has been fantastic. He stuck to his contract and performed really well.
“You can understand if a free agent’s available he’s going to go to the club, probably, that will pay him the most amount of money. He has a number of offers from the Premier League.”
So, where would Sako make this step up and fit well? Our football experts have got their heads together and come up with five top-flight destinations for him.
While Tim Sherwood loves to promote youth, it would be foolish to ignore talent flourishing locally across the West Midlands and not at least look into it. Villa, 9/4 outsiders to win the FA Cup, will be keen to boost their attacking options to ensure their terrible first half of this season is not repeated.
Sako would be competing with the likes of club stalwart Gabriel Agbonlahor, young prospect Jack Grealish, Charles N’Zogbia, loan star Scott Sinclair and Austria international Andreas Weiamnn for a wide berth at Villa Park.
Steve Bruce must first secure top-flight status before he can start thinking about transfer targets. At 7/2 for the drop, the Tigers may yet survive and tempt Sako from the West Midlands to the east coast.
Hull have been crying out for someone who can score goals and provide guile in equal measure. Sako fits the bill and would get to play alongside fellow African internationals Mohamed Diame, Ahmed Elmohamady and Dame N’Doye at the KC Stadium.
Unless Villa win the FA Cup, switching to the Saints is the only realistic option for Sako to raise his profile further through playing European football. Teams such as Tottenham and above are targeting top-flight players from other countries, so linking up with Ronald Koeman on the south coast may be the best he can hope for.
Southampton, 6/4 for a top six finish, have already been victims of their own success with Premier League heavyweights poaching players left, right and centre from their squad last summer. They will be braced for a similar story when this season ends, and the perpetual rebuilding process could do a lot worse than recruiting Sako.
Koeman has only landed wingers Filip Djuricic and Eljero Elia on loan, so may miss out on making them permanent additions to his roster. At St Mary’s, Sako would have Kenyan tough-tackler Victor Wanyama and Senegal forward Sadio Mane for company.
It’s to The Hawthorns and Wolves’ Black Country rivals, the Baggies, that Sako has been most consistently linked. Like Villa, staying local means he can remain settled without uprooting from the Midlands. Can West Brom, massive 25/1 outsiders for relegation, afford his wages, though?
Tony Pulis is keen to renovate his wide options, with the rumour mill regularly mentioning a move for QPR’s Matty Phillips as well in dispatches. Sako’s switch would not go down well with Wanderers fans, but they have had to see former heroes like Joleon Lescott turn up at their bitter rivals before.
Should he seek a move to the capital, Sako could be a real hit with the Hammers. Strongly odds-on at 1/4 for a top 10 finish, the Upton Park outfit’s best signings were arguably African last summer, in Senegal pair Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakhp, plus Cameroonian anchorman Alex Song, so why not explore this route again?
While West Ham boss Sam Allardyce’s future remains up in the air, the need for extra attacking options to cover for injury-prone target man Andy Carroll and replace fringe wideman Matt Jarvis remains. Fellow Mali international Frederic Kanoute flourished in east London, and that kind of potential from a French-born footballer is what would make this an attractive prospect for both ambitious parties.