Official confirmation from the club came late today – after several weeks of legal wrangling a deal has been reached and the club are now able to officially sever all ties with the Senegalese defender.
Stewart Donald had appeared on the Roker Rapport podcast last week and during his interview he gave an update on Djilobodjis status, saying that it hadnt been concluded yet:
Djilobodji at the moment isnt concluded, its with the solicitors. Weve obviously said well terminate his contract, hes appealed that. So that hasnt been completely concluded.
So its premature to say that Djilobodji has gone and wont cost us any money. We have said he shouldnt and he has gone, hes said no, I think you should be paying me and Im not happy with your decision.
Someone is going to decide on that in the very near future as to whether or not hes got a case or we were correct. On the basis that were correct then yes, hes gone. On the basis were not, then I presume hell come back and well have to pay him.
We dont think that will happen but stranger things have happened in the footballing world than that.
A breakthrough has been reached however and now the Senegalese defender will be free to resume his career at another club, although due to the transfer window being closed he will not be allowed to officially sign for a club until January at the earliest.
The Senegalese international was initially brought to the club by former manager David Moyes for a fee of £8m, in a deal that saw him sign a four-year contract.
The move turned into a nightmare for all parties however, with the only bright spell for the player being a loan spell in Ligue 1 with Dijon. The player reached a deal with Sunderland that would see him stay away from the club during July in the hopes of finding a new club but after failing to secure a transfer, the 29-year-old refused to return to the club during August and when he finally showed up in September, he was completely out of shape.
Djilobodji will now join Didier Ndong – who was let go in similar circumstances – in looking for a new club and Sunderland will be able to plan ahead knowing they wont have to pay the player in the future.
Sunderland served Djilobodji notice on his contract in September after the player failed to return for training.
He had been given leave of absence for the month of July to secure a move away from Wearside but that did not materialise and when he eventually returned in September, the club said he comprehensively failed a fitness test.
Djilobodji will not be able to sign for a new club until January, as he becomes a free agent after the closing of the summer window.
As Charlie Methven told the Echo last month, it does not clear room for significant January spending.
“When we came in, the football league said, look, on technical grounds, because of your parachute payment, you could spend vast sums [on wages] and still say within SCMP grounds.
“But we can see from looking at your books that it would bankrupt you, because the parachute payments are already required for these black holes.
“So we had to sign off on an FFI (Future Financial Information agreement), which was our business plan and included how we would bring our finances under control. Two of the assumptions in that were that Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong would leave the club.
“So them leaving does not mean there is money to spend in January. For us to be able to bring in more players, our current wage outgoings will have to be reduced. It is as simple as that.”
However, improving revenues does mean that Stewart Donald believes he will be in a position to back Jack Ross to do some crucial business ahead of the final months of the season.