According to a report in the Telegraph, Yann M’Vila and the rest of his Rubin Kazan teammates haven’t been paid by the Russian side for four months.
The former Sunderland midfielder and his colleagues are threatening to tear up their contracts and could be free agents by January. With the Black Cats desperate for a saviour in the middle of the park, would Yann answer an SOS?
Unlikely of course and the 27-year-old is almost certain to be linked with Everton and a reunion with Sam Allardyce - the manager who got the best out of him during a season-long loan spell at the Stadium of Light.
M’Vila was with Sunderland during the 2015-16 season and his class shone through as Big Sam saved the club from relegation. The former French international made 37 Premier League appearances and all had assumed his stint would be made permanent, with the player seemingly desperate to sign for the Black Cats that summer.
The on-off ‘announce M’Villa’ weeks that followed were fraught with sightings and social media flirtations between the Frenchman and Sunderland fans.
In the end, with Sam Allardyce departing for England and David Moyes being installed as his successor, Sunderland were unable to come to a deal with Kazan and balked at the figure being quoted by the Russian Premier League outfit.
The short-sighted hierarchy at the Stadium of Light refused to pay a reported asking price of £8m for a player who would be free of his deal in Russia within months. A supposed pre-contract agreement was said to be in place for him to sign with Sunderland, though the nature of what form it took was never made clear.
It proved to be a poor decision of course as the Black Cats endured the worst start in Premier League history and by the time Christmas rolled around, M’Vila announced that he longer wished to return to Sunderland and that was largely that.
The Telegraph report that Kazan owe their players over £10m in unpaid wages and that the squad were told last week that there remains no money to pay any of them. For the last two seasons, in salary surveys conducted of Russian footballers, M’Vila has reportedly been the highest paid player in the country.
The scandal at Kazan is all the more notable with the World Cup due to start in Russia in a little over six months time. The Tartarstan club are owned by an investment company and the 88th richest man in the country is its president.
M’Vila will have way more attractive propositions than the cash-strapped club he departed 18 months ago. Sunderland have fallen a long way since the French maestro last graced the Stadium of Light. Plenty of top European clubs would no dount be vying for his signature. But we can but dream.