Sunderland have confirmed they have sacked Papy Djilobodji after he reported late back to pre-season training and then failed a subsequent fitness test.
The Black Cats had been weighing up their options regarding the defender after he, along with Didier Ndong, failed to report to pre-season training following relegation to League One.
But now the Black Cats have revealed the full extent of Djilobodji’s breach of contract, confirming he was AWOL for a month having been given July off on unpaid leave to try and find a new club.
After then returning at the start of September, he failed a fitness test prompting urgent action.
The club released a statement on their website confirming the termination of the defender’s contract.
The statement read: ‘Sunderland AFC has given notice under its contract with Papy Djilobodji. Djilobodji, who was under contract to SAFC until June 2020, indicated in June 2018 that he wished to leave the club.
‘In order to facilitate that desire, the club entered into a written agreement with the player allowing him to spend the month of July on voluntary unpaid leave.
PAPY DJILOBODJI LEAGUE STATS
Years Team Apps Gls
2009 – 10 Senart-Moissy 10 1
2010 – 15 Nantes 171 9
2015 – 16 Chelsea 0 0
2016 Werder Bremen (loan) 14 2
2016 – 2018 Sunderland 18 0
2017 – 2018 Dijon (loan) 29 0
‘When that period came to an end, the player was expected either to leave for a new club – having reached a deal satisfactory to himself and SAFC – or to return in shape to play professional football.
‘Instead, he returned to Sunderland over a month later, in the first week of September, ignoring written requests for his return. On his return, he was subjected to the same fitness test that his fellow professionals had undertaken on their return. He comprehensively failed that test.
‘As a result, Sunderland AFC can confirm that it has accepted Papy Djilobodji’s repudiatory breaches of contract and notice of the same has been provided to the player.’
Djilobodji was on £30,000 a week at Sunderland but has not played for the club since starting in a 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion in January 2017.
Following relegation from the Premier League he spent last term on loan at French top-flight side Dijon.
The 29-year-old joined the Black Cats in a surprise £8million switch from Chelsea in 2016, but could not prevent his side sliding towards the Championship.
Jose Mourinho had previously signed Djilobodji at Chelsea in 2015, but he would flop during his time at Stamford Bridge, playing one minute for the club in a League Cup tie at Walsall.