As well as the on-going move for Lamine Kone, Sunderland had targeted his Lorient team-mate Lamine Gassama, only for the right-back to reject a move to the Stadium of Light.
Speaking to footmercato.net, Gassama has revealed that he decided not to accept the Sunderland move, after the two clubs agreed a fee for his services, when the club failed to agree to clauses he wanted inserted into his contract;
As it stands at the moment it's blocked.
For me, it was difficult to go to Sunderland without guarantees, i.e. in a first step to stay up as they are currently 19th. So for me it was quite difficult to go there even though for me it's still a dream to play in England. We have failed to reach agreement on a few small details.
I had a good contract for 4 and a half years (until 2020). It was interesting.
After that, I wanted different clauses as regards staying up or a possible relegation. On this point, we did not come to an agreement. So I preferred not to rush and did not accept initially.
Although the German club Hoffenheim are also interested in his services, Gassama says that Sunderland are still in pole position, should he move in this transfer window;
With Hoffenheim as with other clubs, we are still at the same stage. I think Hoffenheim may decide during this transfer window. The others, I think they want to wait until June.
For now, the only offer I got came from Sunderland last week. That remains the hottest track.
We may still see Gassama sign for Sunderland before the close of the window, if the 'small details' in his contract can be ironed out but the player says for now he is keeping his options open and although he may leave either now or in the summer, an extension with Lorient is also a possibility.