David Moyes only wants players who are fully committed to the Sunderland cause after Yann M’Vila’s change of heart.
The Black Cats boss admits he needs to add more quality in midfield when the January transfer window opens but M’Vila won’t be arriving.
M’Vila, 26, had been set to re-join Sunderland on a permanent three-and-a-half-year contract when his Rubin Kazan deal expires next month.
But M’Vila’s representatives told the club he no longer wishes to return to Wearside.
Chief executive Martin Bain held talks with manager David Moyes and it was agreed not to enforce the contract after being told of M’Vila’s change of heart.
Moyes admits it was a “tough call” to make over the midfielder, who impressed on loan last season.
“Martin spoke with them at the start of the week and it was brought to our attention that he wasn’t keen to come,” Moyes said.
“So when Martin came back and told me, then that was a decision we had to make.
“I am trying to make changes here.
“We want people here who want to come, a club where the players are proud to play for the club and show what they can do.
“It was a tough call but that was the decision we made.”
Sunderland officials had been in negotiations with the Russian side all summer over the permanent transfer of fan favourite M’Vila.
But any hopes of landing him were thwarted by cash-rich Rubin Kazan’s refusal to go any lower than their £8.5million asking price for a player who had just a few months left on his deal.
It is understood M’Vila has been offered a new deal at Rubin.
Moyes’ central midfield options have been hit in recent weeks with Lynden Gooch, Lee Cattermole and Paddy McNair ruled out.
Jan Kirchhoff and Seb Larsson have recently returned from injury to ease the problem in that area but Moyes knows Sunderland need to add further quality to the midfield in January.
Moyes added: “There are areas we need to improve on.
“It would be very hard to improve on the quality of our forward players at the moment unless for extortionate money.
“We also have Fabio [Borini] back and Adnan [Januzaj] waiting too.
“We are needing to up the quality in the middle of the pitch and I am looking for it to get better.
“Jason Denayer has done okay, Kirchh is on his way back and we need him. Didier Ndong has grown into it and Steven Pienaar has probably been one of our best players.
“We still have Jack Rodwell to come back, we will need him for the Christmas period but we won’t have Catts back until somewhere around February or March time.”