SUNDERLAND are aggressively pursuing Paris St Germain’s wantaway midfielder Stephane Sessegnon as the proposed loan move threatens to become a long, drawn out saga that will stretch towards the end of the transfer window.
The Black Cats had expected to push through a quick loan deal for the player who has fallen out with the club coach Antoine Koumboure and, it was rumoured, PSG were looking to offload.
All that was needed, Sunderland thought, was to persuade the player that the North East club was the one for him and the move would go through seamlessly.
But it has become a lot murkier than that, with PSG digging their heels in and insisting they never had any intention of letting the African playmaker depart – a summer sale of the player is believed to be in the offing and the French club are prepared to wait.
Sessegnon meanwhile, keen to come to Sunderland, has refused to train with PSG in a bid to force through a move.
And Sunderland for their part have stepped up their efforts to convince the player’s employers that their offer is an attractive one.
There have been reports of the Black Cats tabling a permanent £5million bid for the midfielder, although Paris St Germain say they have not received one and the Echo understands one has yet to be made.
Sunderland would prefer to take Sessegnon on loan, although a work permit would also have to be issued either way, and that is not as straightforward as you might imagine for the Benin international.
Although Sessegnon has dozens of caps and is captain of his country, Benin are outside the top 70 ranked footballing nations and, by a quirk of red tape, is therefore not automatically guaranteed a work permit.
The fact that Sunderland are rumoured to be preparing a permanent £5m bid might be significant in persuading the authorities that Sessegnon is a player of sufficient quality that his work permit should be automatically granted.
But the Black Cats still have much work to do in convincing PSG that letting the player come to the Stadium of Light this month is in the interests of all parties.
What is clear though, is that having invested so much time in getting the player to the club, Sunderland are not prepared to give up at the first one or two obstacles.
Having gone this far down the road, Sunderland plan to push through their interest and successfully bring in a player that manager Steve Bruce believes will significantly add to the quality of his squad as he bids to ensure the Black Cats produce a second half of the season every bit as impressive as their first.
Sunderland remain keen on Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari.