Gabonese international Didier Ndong could be on his way back to France, with Ligue 1 side Toulouse said to be interested in signing the Sunderland midfielder before January comes to a close.
The 23-year-old had previously been a target for Premier League Watford, but Sky Sports have suggested the terms offered were rejected out of hand by Sunderland - the deal which Chris Coleman apparently referenced in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
The Hornets reportedly offered to take Ndong on loan until the summer with an offer on the table to sign him permanently for £8m, but only if the player appeared in 75-percent of Watford’s fixtures between now and the end of the season.
That clearly proved too risky for Sunderland, but perhaps highlights the view other clubs hold of just how desperate the Black Cats are to scrimp together as much cash as possible.
Gossip sites in France have this morning reignited the supposed Toulouse interest in Ndong which was reported by Sky and some national newspapers at the weekend.
Toulouse are locked in their own relegation battle in the French top tier and have hovered around the foot of Ligue 1 on and off for the last few seasons.
Midfield has been an issue for the club, with Stoke’s Giannelli Imbula on loan this season along with Max Gradel from Bournemouth - who was linked with a move to Sunderland last summer.
Ndong spent three seasons in Ligue 1 with Lorient before signing for Sunderland in the August 2016. He was considered one of French football’s brighter prospects and was linked with moves to Russia and Italy before opting to switch to the Stadium of Light.
Black Cats boss Chris Coleman has made no secret of the fact Ndong wishes to leave Sunderland this month, but selected him on Saturday against Cardiff to make his first start since November.
The decision to drop Ethan Robson in favour of the Gabon international back-fired somewhat, with Ndong receiving his marching orders four minutes after half time for a clumsy tackle on Junior Hoilett. Sunderland have lodged an appeal against the straight red, with their record signing facing a three-match ban.
That punishment could yet determine how much Sunderland can raise from any sale of the player signed for a reported £13.6m eighteen months ago.