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Learning More About... Stephane Sessegnon

With Sunderland linked with a move for Stephane Sessegnon recently, I wanted to know more about him. It’s easy to make snap judgements based on YouTube clips and a Football Manager, but what do we really know about the player? The only way to find out is have a word with someone who knows. So Roker Report did.

We got in touch with David Trotter, and whilst the name may not sound exotic, you’ll be hard pushed to find someone more fanatical about Ligue 1 than he. David runs the excellent, and has featured in all sorts of media, including L’Equipe, EPLTalk, and World Football Daily. Here’s what he had to say about Sessegnon...

Sunderland has been strongly linked with a loan move for Stephane Sessegnon in the last few days. What’s he like as a player?

David: He has been considered one of the most skilled players in Ligue 1. For the last few years, numerous YouTube videos of Sessegnon have been shown all over the internet. He does have a great burst of speed, but can also handle the ball with an amazing touch. Therefore, any place that he is linked to, he would be beneficial. He is mostly played at Paris as an attacking midfielder on the left hand side. He does well here, but is naturally more of a centre or right-attacking midfielder. The only problem Sessegnon has, and it is a huge problem, is that he rarely passes and always tries to create the play himself (just like Hatem Ben Arfa). This has led to a number of errors committed on the pitch by Sessegnon since his arrival at PSG.

I'm reading that he's a creative central midfielder. Sounds exactly the type of player we need at SAFC. Do you think he'd slot in easily?

David: I don't really follow the EPL, so I cannot say if he would fit at Sunderland or not. But as the EPL seems to be moving away from and English-style of football (relying more on set pieces and long ball play), and playing more of a short passing style, like you see at Manchester City and Arsenal, any team that picks up Sessegnon is showing that they are serious about making their team more compatible with the world of football instead of trying to become just a power in the EPL.

Big clubs like Arsenal & Man City have been linked, with high price tags too. Why are they willing to let him go on loan?

David: I think that Paris believes that Sessegnon is going through a mood swing right now, and that hopefully he will be back with the team. In the last two weeks, there have been a number of players just going short of begging him to return to the squad. Therefore, it seems like he is a well-liked player on the PSG side. Also, PSG hasn't said that they are getting rid of him yet. There seems to be a "jump the gun" mentality, since he had this rift with the club, that he will be gone in the winter. Of course, Sessegnon's departure is possible, but it isn't a "sure thing" as of yet. The reason that Paris might not want to consider getting rid of him is because they still haven't signed Ludovic Giuly to a contract extension. Therefore, it might be entirely possible that Sessegnon is in Antoine Kombouare's plans for next year, just not for this year.

I'm seeing that he's also kicked up a fuss over a pay increase in the past. Can he be a bit of a diva?

David: Yes, he can. Since he arrived at PSG in 2008, he has mostly been an important part of the Paris team. This year, though, he isn't an important part. Since Nene has arrived, Sessegnon has been shelved. And since his arrival in Paris, he has complained about his contract. Still, as of right now, Sessegnon has no reason to complain about his contract. On the pitch, he hasn't looked as good as he did at Le Mans, and his ball-hogging and errors have been the main contributor.

Do you think he'd suit Sunderland's style of play, and the pace of the Premier League?

David: French players rarely have a problem dealing with the pace of the EPL because, honestly, it is not as fast paced at Ligue 1. Yes, Ligue 1 might be stronger defensively, but the pace is also fast as well. That is why many French player, when they return to France after some time in the EPL, are far from impressive. This is also a reason that Laurent Blanc is adding more Ligue 1 players to his team as well. As far as Sunderland's style of play, I haven't watch Sunderland since Kevin Phillips played on the team, so I wouldn't know.

Should he arrive at SAFC, where would he rank amongst our current crop of midfielders?

David: The only midfielders at Sunderland that I really know anything about are Zenden, Malbranque and Riveros. Of these players, he will be quite different. He would be closest to Zenden if anyone, as he is a good ball handler, but the other two are more positional players, which Sessegnon is not. Zenden is also more accurate with his shooting than Sessegnon (which is another Sessegnon fault). He will be more of a play-maker type, trying to create chances. But if the coaches at Sunderland can teach him how to pass the ball, he could be a great asset for the team. That is his biggest downfall.

You can read more about Ligue 1 on David's website - or follow him on Twitter - @frenchsoccer

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