Sunderland are reportedly considering their legal options after defender Papy Djilobodji came waltzing back from his summer holiday a mere 72 days later than requested.
After the Black Cats’ relegation to League One, Djilobodji apparently spent the off-season attempting to engineer a transfer but nothing materialised despite interest from Hannover, Dijon and Trabzonspor.
According to the Roker Report, Sunderland then received notification from Djilobodji’s representatives that the central defender would be reporting for training on Monday, though that never materialised.
Instead, the Senegalese international – who is said to be on wages of around £33,000-a-week – came traipsing in on Wednesday morning when he reported for training at the Academy of Light.
Amazingly, Djilobodji isn’t the only player to go AWOL from Sunderland this summer with club-record signing Didier Ndong also missing since July, having spent the final half of last season on loan at Watford without making a single appearance.
Speaking to The Sun, Sunderland director Charlie Methven explained the current state of play:
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.
Neither of the stay-away players have been paid during their self-imposed periods of exile, though Djilobodji has since been allowed to begin training again, though only with the reserves.
It probably goes without saying that the current Sunderland owners have decreed the 29-year-old will not be allowed to train with the first team or represent the club in a senior capacity ever again.
It’s a tale as old as time. Mediocre players playing a complicit part in relegation and then, with no discernible evidence, deeming themselves too good to even consider dossing it in the league below.