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Ex-Sunderland midfielder Yann M'Vila accused of being drunk in training amidst talk of bust-ups

Yann M'Vila, the man who declared in December that he no longer wished to join Sunderland after the most protracted transfer saga in the club's history, has been accused of turning up for training intoxicated ahead of a Russian Premier League game amidst tales of dressing room bust-ups at Rubin Kazan.

France Training and Press Conference - Group D: UEFA EURO 2012

French midfielder Yann M'Vila has been accused of being drunk in training ahead of a Russian Premier League match.

The 26-year-old who was on loan at Sunderland last season and was widely expected to sign permanently following a successful spell at the Stadium of Light is one of two Rubin Kazan players who have allegedly been disciplined for their misdemeanours.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
M'Vila competing against Wayne Rooney during the Frenchman's spell at Sunderland
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

According to reports in Russia, M'Vila was let off with a severe reprimand whilst his teammate Maxime Lestienne was dealt with in a harsher fashion and hit with a fine amounting to the equivalent of three months wages.

The pair are accused of training whilst intoxicated ahead of Kazan's most recent game - a goal-to-nil defeat at FC Ural which was played before the recent international break. The Tatarstan club have so far declined to comment on the incident.

There have been suggestions elsewhere that Lestienne has an ongoing problem with alcohol. Formerly of PSV Eindhoven, the Belgian winger lost both of his parents in 2015 and was put up for sale by the Dutch club after his form dipped. He joined Kazan last summer.

FC Rubin Kazan v FC Rostov Rostov-On-Don - Russian Premier League
Maxime Lestienne (L) playing for Rubin Kazan in November
Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images

And all of this is set against a backdrop suggesting all is not well at Rubin Kazan with tales of dressing room bust-ups and cancelled training sessions due to fighting between the club's stars. Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song is supposed to have been banished to warm up with the Kazan youth team and there's talk of boss Javi Gracia holding two-hour-long peace talks between sets of warring players.

The protracted saga involving Yann M'Vila and his on-off transfer to Sunderland needs little introduction. Signed on loan during Dick Advocaat's short spell in the Stadium of Light hot seat, the Frenchman was one of the Black Cats best performers last season.

Once his loan deal had ended most expected M'Vila to sign permanently for Sunderland. The player himself publicly expressed his desire to do so on more than one occasion and on transfer deadline day last summer he declared himself as in England waiting for the call to head for the north east.

In the end no deal was reached with Rubin Kazan and the Russian club are thought to have wanted up to £8m for the player whose contract at the time expired at the end of December. There have been suggestions since that Sunderland were only prepared to pay £1m for his services.

A pre-contract agreement existed in some form which supposedly gave Sunderland first refusal on the midfielder once his deal in Russia expired but in early December the club publicly announced that the player had changed his mind and no longer wished to join the Premier League strugglers.

This latest episode is the latest in a long line of indiscretions which have dogged M'Vila throughout his career. Lurid tales and allegations have followed him around Europe and Russia and have likely curtailed his opportunities at international level and of being afforded the opportunity to play for Europe's biggest clubs.

England v France - International Friendly
M'Vila battling against former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson in a friendly game between France and England in 2010
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

He's some boy - here's a reminder of his CV:

  • 2010: allegations of assault over a traffic incident and a court appearance over two prostitutes who made of with his belongings on the eve of an international match.
  • 2012: allegation of assault against a 17-year old man believed to be his sister’s boyfriend.
  • 2012: two year ban from the French Football Federation following a wild night out in between under-21 internationals.
  • 2013: went AWOL from Kazan during the Russian winter break and sat amongst Liverpool fans during a Merseyside derby.
  • 2014: furiously left the field of play having been substituted by Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini, and within a month his loan agreement had been terminated.
  • 2015: during the period he spent with Dynamo Moscow he was accused of trashing his rented house and some lurid headlines emerged about him wielding an axe.
  • 2016: posts on Instagram in July that he wishes to return to Sunderland. On transfer deadline day updates his status to say he is in London. Then when no deal is forthcoming a further message emerges proclaiming he is “heartbroken”.
  • 2016: posts on Instagram in September that he will be in Sunderland “if God wants”, later followed by a “thanks” hint at goodbye in November.
  • 2016: Sunderland announce Yann M'Vila no longer wishes to join the club and manager David Moyes suggests the Frenchman lacks the required fight to battle relegation.

It was thought that one of the reasons M'Vila opted to stay in Russia was because he could earn more than he would have done at Sunderland. But as we revealed last month, the Frenchman supposedly rakes in around £67,000 a week at Rubin Kazan - a figure likely just a tad more than what Fabio Borini and Jack Rodwell earn at the Stadium of Light.

The debate over whether Sunderland should have signed M'Vila when they had chance has raged since last summer and may yet feature in a list of reasons for relegation in end-of-season post-mortems should the Black Cats succumb to the drop.