Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed that winger Bakary Sako has expressed his desire to remain with the Premier League club. Talking to the Evening Standard, the former England head coach says that the player won’t be leaving in January, despite a £4million from Championship side Birmingham City.

Since making the move to Selhurst Park in August 2015 on a free transfer, the 28-year-old has mostly struggled to earn a regular place in the starting eleven, In total, he has started just eleven Premier League games and made 13 more as a substitute, including the 2-1 home defeat to relegation rivals Swansea City on Tuesday evening.

Allardyce says that the player wishes to stay and fight for a place in the squad, which he is perfectly fine with,

“Bakary has expressed a wish to stay and fight to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League.”

The player is however away at the African Cup of Nations on international duty with Mali and Allardyce is keen for him to return as soon as possible, and without injury,

“It’s going to be a difficult January. We need to get as many of these players fit.

“I hope Bakary Sako and Wilfried Zaha don’t get injured on international.”

This will serve as a big blow to Blues manager Gianfranco Zola, who made the former Wolves wide man one of his priority transfer targets this month. He will therefore have to pursue other targets to boost his squad at St Andrews over the next few weeks, and he looks to secure his first win since the Championship club surprisingly hired him and sacked Gary Rowett.

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I currently work as a Championship Research Analyst for Onside Analysis Ltd. In this role I provide match previews and reviews for every Championship game. I also delve into matches from all across the globe, gaining an insight into football from different leagues in different countries. I came into this role shortly after graduating from The University of Hull after studying BSc Sports Coaching & Performance. I am a Lincoln City fan and hopefully one day they'll return to The 72!