Sunderland have sacked Gabon international Didier Ndong after he failed to return to the club this summer.
The 24-year-old joined the English League One side in a club-record fee of £13.6 million in August 2016 from French club Lorient.
With the Black Cats, Ndong made 49 appearances, scoring once. However, the midfielder has not played for them since January.
Ndong, had three year left on his five-year contract signed when David Moyes was manager. According to the club, the Gabon international went awol in the wake of relegation to League One.
Too late to return to the club
On Monday, Ndong returned to the club’s Academy of Light training ground for the first time since May, having failed to find a new club over the summer.
He was subsequently informed that he had been sacked over breach of contract as he failed to show up since the start of the pre-season in July.
“The player, who was under contract with the club until June 2021, failed to return to Sunderland for pre-season training in July as scheduled, nor in the subsequent months that followed,” read a statement from the club’s website.
“No reason was given for his failure to report and continued absence. “As a result, the club has accepted Didier Ndong’s repudiatory breaches of contract and notice of the same has been provided to the player.
Earlier this month, the Black Cats took similar action against Senegalese defender Papy Djilobodji, who returned late to the club and failed a fitness test.
Both Ndong and Djilobodji were given a month’s unpaid leave while they tried to find a new club, following Sunderland’s relegation to League One. The two will now be able to join other clubs as free agents.
It is likely that the Tyne and Wear club will pursue legal action in an attempt to sue them for a loss of income.