It's official, Bakary Sako is bak(ary)!
First of all, have I written this article purely so I could use the above title? Quite possibly yes. Now I have until the end of this article to justify the 'Crak' element, so let's get started. Firstly, we have our second signing of the window, so that has probably cost a fair few people some money who bet we would sign one, or none. Moving on from that, there has been a lot of talk this window of old players returning, namely Moses, Bolasie and Cabaye. One player that no one expected to return was Bakary Sako. So when news suddenly broke at the end of the week, that Sako was coming back, it caught everyone by surprise. It has also very much divided opinion.
So what do we know about the deal? Well, essentially we have just taken over his contract at West Brom, which runs until the summer. No signing fee I would assume, and hopefully a much lower wage than what he was on last time around. So the question is, what do I think about the move? Well, I can see some positive elements to it, in order to be fair. Those who are happy to see him back, are more than likely those who didn't want him to leave in the first place. In his return, we have a player who is fit and able to play. He can play on the wing, and he can play upfront, giving us an extra option in both areas. The guy loves to shoot(something we lack) and certainly does have a beast of a shot on him. He also certainly gives the bench that little bit extra, because while the returns of Benteke and Wickham have boosted striking options, Sako gives that explosive element that our bench currently doesn't have. There is also the plus that it would seem he is very well thought of in our dressing room, as has already been evident on social media. He gives us a player we already know, who knows how things work, knows the club and knows the management.
There is also the factor that the best football
we have seen from Sako, came under Roy's management. Last season, when we were struggling
for anything up top, Sako provided that spark, that bit of firepower to help
drag us through. Losing him to injury was a massive blow at the time it
happened, there is no denying that. So yes, I can see from a fan perspective,
why his return could be seen as a positive. It works for Parish too. Clearly,
this window is about clearing out the deadwood and any incoming deals, do on
the mega cheap. Sako therefore suits that perfectly due to low cost, knowing
what we are getting(unlike with Rakip etc) and keeps a loan spot open. The
thing is, while there are these positives, this is a move that really does not
sit right with me, and I will explain why.
Bakary Sako was with us for three years. When he signed on a free, I thought it was a real coup, especially given his form at Wolves. He started off well too, scoring on his full debut at home to Villa, and then a week later in the away win at Chelsea. Sako though, flattered to deceive. In his first season, he made a total of 23 appearances, scoring just those two goals. In his second season, he made a total of just 8 appearances, scoring 0 goals. Last season he made a total of 19 appearances, scoring 6 goals. I thought we were getting a creative, goal scoring powerhouse, when in reality we got, for the majority of the time, an out of shape lump made of glass. Too many times, Sako would get injured. In that second season, he got injured at least twice, having just come back from injury, without even getting back on the pitch. The majority of his appearances until last season, when he played, he was unfit and out of shape. It was only last season, under Roy, conveniently when his contract was running out, that he turned up looking fit, and playing well. During that spell he was great to watch, and as a character, he is very likeable(man like Serbia anyone?), but the fact is, he was on a decent wage here and did virtually nothing to justify it. Three decent months in three years is just appalling, and that is what we got from him.
Then in the summer, I actually said I wouldn't mind him staying, as long as it was on lower wages and a short term deal to keep him motivated. We already needed a host of players, so keeping him would have kept that requirement down. Sako was indeed offered a deal, on a lower wage, by all accounts, and he turned it down. He turned it down, because he felt he could get a better deal elsewhere. Having basically stolen from us for three years, if you go by wage outlay, to what we got in return, he had the nerve to reject a new contract(that he had not earned if we are being realistic) because he felt he could get better money elsewhere.
That better contract of course, never came, and so months
into the season, he ended up at West Brom in the Championship. He could have
been in the Premier League with us, playing, given our struggles up top, but
greed saw him miss out. Only now, after a poor spell at West Brom that saw him bag
just 1 goal, he is suddenly back with us again. We have effectively rewarded
the man for turning us down, and then struggling in a division below. Why?
Because we are having to penny pinch. Not only that, but two things that have
been posted to mark his arrival, have irked me. The first, is calling him King
Bakary. King of what? King of fleecing our board? King of the treatment room?
That is clearly someone trying to hype up something really flat. Worse than
that though, was a quote from Sako saying he had unfinished business. Excuse
me, but what?? What is this unfinished business, to finally earn a wage here
perhaps? If he had unfinished business, why didn't he just sign the new deal in
the summer and get on with it? It's all rubbish, spin doctors trying to make
this move sound great because we aren't going to do the business we actually
I am aware that I have gone on a rant, but I just can't help
it. I have spent weeks defending our actions this window to people, but this
has really got to me. Maybe that is where the 'Crak' comes in, because this
deal has made my composure 'Crak'? Who knows, but what I do know, is that Sako
better deliver the best four months of his career, otherwise this will just be
the latest edition to our, at times, shambolic transfer activity. Having pulled
off such a coup with Perri, this has been a 'bakwards's step.