By Tom Blackburn
Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has rejected a loan move to Stoke City, according to a report.
The Mirror claims that Sakho has opted not to join Mark Hughes in Stoke, and the club will now pursue Phil Jones from Manchester United.
It is said that Hughes is keen to bring a centre-back in before the transfer window shuts and hopes the lure of first-team football is enough to convince Phil Jones to make a loan switch to the bet365 Stadium.
The Telegraph reported last Tuesday that Sakho would be allowed to leave Liverpool in a bid to allow him to recapture his best form, before returning for a second stint at Anfield.
A short-term arrangement would be seen as beneficial to the 26-year-old and the club, allowing him to get back to the levels required to compete for his first team place.
That report came shortly before the World Anti-Doping Agency revealed they would not appeal against UEFA’s decision to drop the doping allegations against the defender.
Sakho tested positive for a substance called Heganomine, following the second leg of Liverpool’s dramatic Europa League ties against Manchester United on 17 March.
Italian outlet Corriere Dello Sport claimed at the start of August that Serie A giants Roma are keen to sign the centre-back on loan, but with an option to buy.
Sakho joined the Merseyside club from French giants Paris St Germain in 2013 for a fee of £18 million and has made 80 appearances.
The 26-year-old played 22 league matches last season and was a crucial figure in Liverpool’s Europa League run before they lost out to Sevilla in the final.
In other Liverpool transfer news, a Tottenham defender delivers his verdict on their new signing.