Sunderland to end Papy Djilobodji contract after defender went AWOL

Rex Christensen
September 14, 2018

Donald said yesterday that the club would be within their rights to sue the duo, signed for a combined £21.5m, for "wilfully devaluing themselves" in an attempt to force Sunderland to terminate their contracts or sell them for minimal fees.

His spell in Germany went to plan, so much so that David Moyes' Sunderland made a decision to fork out £8m to sign him on a permanent deal from Chelsea in August 2016.

Former Chelsea centre-back Papy Djilobodji has been sacked, after he "comprehensively failed" a fitness test at Sunderland.

The 29-year-old spent last season on loan at French side Dijon, following a disappointing 2016-17 campaign as the Black Cats were relegated from the Premier League.

Djilobodji turned up for pre-season 72 days late and, according to chairman Stewart Donald, in no shape to play football, while Ndong still remains absent without leave and the club "don't know where he is". Ndong, who did not return to training in July, recently posted Instagram pictures of himself relaxing by a swimming pool which have since been deleted.

But he failed to return in August despite written requests and failed a fitness test when he eventually came back to the Stadium of Light this month.

The club agreed to let him go, reaching an agreement with him that he will spend the month of July on voluntary unpaid leave in order to try and find a new club.

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"On his return, he was subjected to the same fitness test that his fellow professionals had undertaken on their return".

A statement on Sunderland official website reads, "Sunderland AFC has given notice under its contract with Papy Djilobodji".

However, the player was unable to do so and refused to return to the club, despite Sunderland sending several requests for him to resume training, which Djilobodji ignored.

The £6.6 million deal to join Torino, The Guardian reports, was accepted in June but crumbled as the Italian Serie A oufit were unwilling to meet his wage demands. "Didier Ndong has shown no interest in returning to the football club whatsoever - we don't even know where he is".

"I'm certain we're allowed to fine them", Donald said.

Neither player nor their representatives were contactable.

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