JOHN Mensah has played his last game for Sunderland.
The Ghana captain has returned to parent club Lyon after the completion of his second year-long loan on Wearside and would love to come back for a third spell next season.
But Sunderland will not be pursuing the option after finally coming to the conclusion that the classy central defender’s injury problems are too much of an obstacle to overcome – especially with squad numbers now capped.
Mensah was not in Sunderland’s starting line-up on Sunday at West Ham, when his place was taken by fit-again Anton Ferdinand.
But the African was not left out of the side as a result of his controversial exit in the club’s last home game, when he showed bad sportsmanship in running straight down the tunnel after being subbed, rather than shaking the hand of teenage debutant and replacement Louis Laing.
He missed out because he picked up an injury in the last training session before the squad travelled to London.
Mensah was involved in only 18 games of each of the last two season and most of those matches were played in fits and starts in between a spate of knocks and strains.
There is no doubting the defender’s quality and boss Steve Bruce has said that if Mensah had an injury-free record, he would be a shoo-in for one of the Premier League’s top four teams.
But the 28-year-old was nowhere near as outstanding this season as he was last, with the lack of training seeming to take its toll on him.
A long-standing back injury has resulted in him picking up a series of injuries and being unable to train properly. As a result, he struggles to last the pace of a full 90 minutes.
Mensah’s agent Fabien Piveteau is now looking for pastures new for his client.
“Glasgow Rangers have expressed interest in John but we are looking at other offers. We will be taking into consideration the price tag before making a move,” he said.