STEPHANE Sessegnon insists he never expressed any desire to leave Sunderland, prior to his deadline-day departure to West Brom.
Sessegnon predictably came back to haunt the Black Cats on his Baggies debut on Saturday after the 29-year-old’s goal sparked a 3-0 defeat for the Wearsiders, and led to last night’s sacking of head coach Paolo Di Canio.
Sunderland were willing to offload Sessegnon during the summer, before Di Canio had a change of heart over the Benin international in pre-season.
But following Sessegnon’s displays in the opening two games, the Italian approved West Brom’s £6million offer for the frontman – something that came as a surprise to a player who made 97 appearances in red and white during more than two-and-a-half years on Wearside.
Sessegnon told the Echo: “I didn’t sense that I was going to leave Sunderland, but that’s the life of a footballer.
“If a club wants you and they accept an offer, then that’s what happens. That’s football.
“I never asked to leave the club.
“But the club accepted the offer and then I had the choice to come to West Brom.
“It’s football and I had the chance to continue playing in the Premier League. It’s a good opportunity for me.
“I had three very good years at Sunderland with some great moments.
“I will always remember the good memories there and the people at the club.”
Sessegnon deliberately did not celebrate his 20th-minute opener out of respect for the 2,500 Sunderland supporters inside The Hawthorns.
And he hopes that Sunderland can emerge from their current predicament at the top flight’s basement after the Black Cats suffered a fourth defeat in five league outings to stay at the bottom of the table.
“It was a strange day obviously because I was playing against my old club,” added Sessegnon.
“I didn’t celebrate because I have so much respect for the Sunderland fans.
“During all of my years there, my attitude was always to everything for them and I never had any problems with them.
“Obviously, I’ve moved to West Brom because it’s part of my job.
“But to keep my respect for the club and the fans, I couldn’t celebrate the goal.
“I could see that they gave me a good reception which was great. I will continue to have a lot of respect for them.
“There are good players at Sunderland and I hope they can do well for the rest of the season.”