Striker Christian Benteke remains hopeful that Crystal Palace can still complete a permanent summer deal for influential Liverpool loanee Mamadou Sakho, although appears to have now done all he can to persuade his former Anfield teammate.
The chances of the France centre-back making a swift return to Selhurst Park during the upcoming transfer window had appeared to be rapidly diminishing, with Eagles boss Sam Allardyce surprisingly ending his five-month tenure with the club just one week after guiding them to Premier League safety and hinting strongly at retirement.
"Big Sam" had previously expressed an interest in bringing Sakho back to Palace, although warned that it would likely take a "big negotiation".
Liverpool are said to be demanding £30m ($38.7m) for a player who was frozen out by Jurgen Klopp after being sent home from a pre-season tour of the United States before being shipped out on a six-month loan deal in January.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ about Sakho, former Aston Villa forward Benteke, who swapped Merseyside for South London in a £27m deal last summer, admitted that he had tried to twist the centre-back's arm but conceded that the decision now rested with him.
"Yes, I tried. I tried to convince him to stay," he said. "But at the end of the day, it's up to him. He knows what he needs and what he wants to do. Obviously it won't be easy because of the demand, but we'll see. Hopefully, he's going to stay."
Sakho made a significant impression during his short stay at Palace, making eight appearances and earning a player of the year nomination despite seeing his campaign ended prematurely in late April by a serious-looking knee injury that saw him stretchered out of a 1-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.
Although it eventually sidelined him for the final four matches of the season, such an issue was not as bad as first feared and Sakho, widely expected to leave Liverpool this summer, has since raised hopes that he is eager to stay at Palace by remaining with the club to continue his rehabilitation. However, chairman Steve Parish recently stressed that such a deal would be "very difficult" to secure given the finances involved.
"I think Liverpool want a big number for him. That is a tough one to make happen on a permanent basis. We need to look at the budgets and be realistic," he told American radio station SiriusXM FC.
"It is important that whoever takes over [from Allardyce] has the right level of support from us but also that we are realistic. That is important. It is not a one-way interview process. They have got to be comfortable with the situation they are coming into and I am always very forthright about what is available and what is not."