Yesterday we revealed that Papy Djilobodji had reported for training at the Academy of Light in the morning, and that the 29-year old Senegal international had been present at the first team’s game with Stoke City U21s on Tuesday evening, watching on from the corporate box at the back of the South West Corner.
Djilobodji had been in a self-imposed exile that lasted 72 days, missing all of pre-season and the first month of our League One campaign.
In a statement directed at fans on SAFC.com, the club have directly addressed the situation surrounding the former Chelsea defender in an incredibly blunt fashion.
Sunderland AFC would like to issue supporters with the following update on defender Papy Djilobodji.
Papy Djilobodji has returned to the club, late and having missed pre-season and the opening month of the season proper.
The club is taking legal advice on the situation, and the player has been undergoing fitness tests, to assess whether he has returned to the club in a state to play professional football.
There will be no further comment until the player’s fitness has been assessed fully and the club has received full legal advice.
Just yesterday, co-owner Charlie Methven spoke about what was going on to the press and admitted that they’re dealing with it in a slightly different fashion to what is going on with Didier Ndong, who has still not returned to Wearside.
The club is considering its legal options.
The two cases aren’t identical in that finally Papy Djilobodji has turned up, but nonetheless turning up in the first week of September rather than at the beginning of August in a fit condition to play, as was agreed.
There is an internal procedure going on to determine whether he is fit to play.
Sunderland manager Jack Ross remained coy when asked about what was going on with Djilobodji yesterday when he met the press, and whilst he conceded that it wasn’t really ideal for his own preparations it’s more an issue for the club’s owners at the moment:
Papy is back. Beyond that, because of how the situation has developed and how it will probably continue to develop, it goes beyond me.
I can’t really comment on it other than to say that Stewart and Charlie have stressed that they’ll be the only ones who comment on where his future lies and how it will develop for the club. We’ve said it often enough, a solution would have been best a long time ago and that still remains the case.
This already messy situation is sure to rumble on over the coming weeks and months, with the club of a firm belief that they’re in a strong position from a legal standpoint.