Sunderland are considering sacking Papy Djilobodji after the defender finally turned up to training 72 days late.
The League One club would prefer to sell the Senegal international but are pursuing legal options and may look to rip up the player’s contract, or at least ensure they don’t need to pay him.
The £8m signing hadn’t been sighted at the Stadium of Light since the Black Cats’ relegation from the Championship and after deals with Dijon, Trabzonspor, Bordeaux and Hannover all fell through, he finally returned to training yesterday.
But bizarrely for Sunderland, Djilobodji isn’t even the worst behaved player at the club – £13.6m club-record signing Didier Ndong is still AWOL after his proposed £6m move to Torino fell through.
Ndong spent the second half of last season on loan at Watford but only made the bench three times, and never played a match in his four months at Vicarage Road.
Neither player has been paid this season, and Sunderland are trying to keep it that way.
Sunderland director Charlie Methven told the Sun: “The club is considering its legal options.
“The two cases aren’t identical in that finally Djilobodji has turned up. There is an internal procedure to determine whether he is fit to play.”
Djilobodji was kept away from the first team on his arrival yesterday, and manager Jack Ross said that is unlikely to change in the near future.
“Papy is back. Beyond that, it goes beyond me,” he said.
“We have tried hard to build spirit quickly within this group. We want to maintain it and we are conscious of that.”
Sunderland still hope to sell both players and recoup something on the combined £21.6m they paid for them two years ago.