The rumour mill is grinding away again, with infuriating new reports – to which I fear I can add – about the future of Stéphane Sessegnon …
Last week, I had a Twitter exchange with the Sunderland Echo’s Chris Young who, using his best A level French, had extracted from Sess the following quote: ‘I’ve got no problem with life here and it’s always good news to hear that the manager wants to keep you … I’m aware of the speculation, but I can’t do anything about it … As I’ve said before, I don’t feel that my work here is finished.”
I pointed out, and Chris readily agreed, that ”I don’t feel my work here is finished”, as declared in early May, could easily turn to ”my work here is finished” in mid-May.
Today Chris refers to renewed speculation, this time in the French sports daily L’Equipe, again linking our star player of the season with a move to Arsenal. Previous reports have mentioned Spurs and even a return to his old club Paris Saint-Germain.
[Arsène] Wenger is said to have made Sessegnon one of his key targets, according to French newspaper L’Equipe this morning, after Arsenal have already completed a deal for German striker Lukas Podolski and are thought to be on the verge of landing Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila. But Arsenal could well be priced out of a move for Sessegnon, with Sunderland reportedly looking for a fee in excess of £17million for the Benin international.
I can add this: I raised the question of where Sess would be playing next season with a leading journalist at that very paper, the often well-informed L’Equipe, just a few days ago.
He agreed with my own assessment that a return to Paris was unlikely but worryingly added this: ”Sessegnon will leave if he can for reasons of quality of life above all. I imagine a London club would suit him well …”
We’re realists. If Wenger or ‘Arry wants him, the pressure to sell will be immense. We must try out hardest to resist it; I pray O’Neill can persuade Sess that the quality of life is outstanding in the North East and that he should stay for another season or two.
But if that prayer goes unanswered, the least we can demand is that SAFC does not reduce by a penny its estimation of a player who has been a breath of fresh air in the Premier all season. And that MON insists, which Steve Bruce did not when Darren Bent was sold and Gyan allowed to wander off east, that he goes nowhere without an adequate replacement being not just vaguely in mind but all fixed up …