Sunderland have terminated the contract of misfit defender Papy Djilobodji today.
The former Chelsea defender had been given leave to find a new club, but after he returned late from a period of leave and failed a fitness test, he’s been sacked for gross misconduct. He has not featured in League One this season and despite returning this week, he is no longer welcome at the club. The official 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. 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.”
Despite returning, the £8m capture wasn’t found to be in a fit state to play for the club. The 29-year old hasn’t appeared for Sunderland since 2017 and spent last season on-loan with Dijon.
“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.”
He isn’t the only player currently causing the Black Cats headaches. Stewart Donald told media that £13.6m signing Didier Ndong is another who is completely AWOL. “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… there’s an obligation on players to turn up in a condition in which you can play football, and the reality of it is that I would probably have beaten his [fitness] stats. When you’ve not turned up for 72 days and missed eight games of the season, and you come up in a condition which means you’ll probably miss the next 12 games, I think that sort of says you’re not really committed.”
Both players are a disgrace to the club, the fans and their fellow professionals. Simply getting rid of them isn’t punishment enough, thy should be barred from playing by FIFA until their contracts run out.
They’ve cost the club a massive amount of money and have done nothing to stop its fall into League One.