After Papy Djilobodji’s sack, Sunderland to decide on AWOL record signing Didier Ndong

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The Gabon midfielder is likely to follow in the steps of the former Chelsea defender who was sacked as a consequence for his action to the Black Cats

Didier Ndong will sure soon learn of his fate at Sunderland with Senegal defender Papy Djilobodji sacked by the club after committing a quite similar offence.

The decision to oust Djilobodji came after he returned to the Black Cats training 72 days late. His African counterpart, however, remains AWOL as the League One club are also set to take legal action against their record £13.6 million signing.

While their cases look similar on the surface, the situations have different bearings.

£8 million signing Djiloboji had been granted permission to miss pre-season training in July, having made known his desire to leave the League One side a month earlier.

The defender who spent last season on loan at Ligue 1 club Dijon was required to have found a club at the end of his unpaid leave, or return to Wearside, and with the required fitness level.

But Sunderland claimed the 29-year-old refused to turn himself in on time, "ignoring written requests for his return", and "comprehensively failed" a fitness test given to the squad members during pre-season, hence their decision to cull him.

Ndong, on the other hand, is yet to learn of his future at the former Premier League side.

The midfielder spent the second half of last season in the English top-flight with Watford - where he failed to clock a single minute - and refused to report to his parent club at the end of his temporary move for pre-season.

A record signing from Lorient in 2016, he first made his intention to leave the club known after they dropped to the English Championship in 2017.

This summer, Ndong reportedly missed out on moves to Benfica and Torino among others.

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. Also, his £25,000 a week pay have since been withheld by the club.

The duo are alleged to have taken the respective decisions in a bid to devalue their worths.

What that would, in turn, leave them with is Sunderland terminating their contracts, thus, making them free agents and in position to negotiate higher wages at their new clubs.

Speaking to TalkSport on Tuesday was club chairman Stewart Donald, who hinted at taking legal actions against both players, which has evidently been exercised in Djilobodji's case earlier on Wednesday.

“I’m certain we’re allowed to fine them,” Donald said. “But the question is whether they’ve done enough in breach of their contracts [for us] to terminate their contracts and pursue them for wilfully devaluing themselves.

“Didier Ndong has shown no interest in returning to the football club whatsoever. We don’t even know where he is. Papy has returned but in his last conversation [before coming back] he said: ‘You’ll never see me in Sunderland again.’”

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“Just because they can’t move now we don’t think they’ve behaved well enough for us to say, ‘All right, we’ll pay you’ never mind play them, because neither of them are in condition to play.”

With his counterpart already sacked, Ndong - who had retrieved poolside pictures posted on Instagram last week and remains unavailable to contact - will learn of Sunderland’s decision sooner rather than later.

 

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