GUS Poyet said he had to let Modibo Diakite leave on loan because the Frenchman’s chances of first-team action at Sunderland was so limited.
The former Lazio man was expected to play a big part in Sunderland’s season when he was brought in on a Bosman free transfer last summer.
Ex-Black Cats boss Paolo Di Canio envisaged the 26-year-old being a first-team regular but in the event the Frenchman only started seven games and yesterday left on loan to Italian Serie A side Fiorentina for the rest of the season.
Poyet told the Echo : “We have been trying to help a few players who were finding it difficult to get involved and Modibo is one of them.
“As of now, we have five senior centre halves on our training ground without him.
“We have that, because Carlos Cuellar has now returned to full training, so getting him involved was going to be even more difficult.
“And Modibo? He’s the sort of player who needs to play.
“I think that Diakite has one thing which is important - he is very strong.
“He has a specialist strength and when you are like that, you need to be playing regularly to keep you at your maximum effectiveness.
“If Modibo is not playing, you are not going to get the best out of him.
“Others can be different - Santiago Vergini for example has a different type of fitness, you can always play him - but Modibo needs a run of games and we couldn’t give him that.
“So the best thing for him was to go there to Fiorentina and hopefully get the run of games he needs.”
The loan is only to the end of the season but it is clear that Sunderland have now moved on from the centre-half, with January signing Vergini joining Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Valentin Roberge and Carlos Cuellar as central defensive options.
And the club can be expected to look at off-loading Diakite permanently in the summer.
David Vaughan meanwhile had his loan at Nottingham Forest extended to the end of the season.
And with the Welsh midfielder out of contract in the summer, Vaughan is expected to sign a deal at the City Ground once the season is over and become a permanent member of the Forest squad.