Following Sunderland's relegation from the Championship, both Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong have failed to return to the club, prompting Sunderland to consider legal action against the duo.
Sunderland suffered back-to-back relegations from the Premier League and the Championship which left the club with some expensive players compared to League One's usual standards. Djilobodji and Ndong failed to secure moves away from the club, and have seemingly opted to take matters into their own hands.
Club chairman Steward Donald discussed the possibility of legal action in an interview with talkSPORT, saying: “The reality is that they were supposed to report back in training in July, but they made no secret of the fact they wanted to find other clubs.
“We gave Papy Djilobodji permission to not be with us in July, when he said he wouldn’t turn up if we didn’t pay him, so he could find another club.
"We gave him some guidelines to keep himself fit to make sure he was up with the pre-season standards, but he didn’t turn up in August whilst looking for a move, and with the transfer window shutting neither player managed to find a club.
“There’s an obligation on players to turn up in a condition in which you can play football, and the reality of it is that I would probably have beaten his [Djilobodji’s] stats when he returned.
"He was unfortunately way off what everyone else is and then didn’t turn up for the next training session.
"Didier Ndong has shown no interest in returning to the football club whatsoever. We don’t even know where he is. Papy has returned but in his last conversation [before coming back] he said: ‘You’ll never see me in Sunderland again.’”
Ndong joined Sunderland for around £13.6m in 2016 and spent the second half of last season on loan with Watford, but failed to make an appearance for the Premier League side.
The Black Cats parted with £8m to sign Djilobodji from Chelsea in 2016. However, fans are unlikely to see either player represent the club again.