'You'll never see me in Sunderland again!': Stewart Donald reveals shocking message from wantaway defender
Stewart Donald has shed more light on the situations surrounding wantaway duo Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong - with the defender claiming he will never return to the club.
In an interview with the Jim White Show on talkSPORT, Donald reiterated his belief that the club should not have to pay the contracts of the pair - who have both made it clear that their futures lie away from the Stadium of Light.
Indeed, the Sunderland chairman revealed that Djilobodji told club officials that he would never be seen in Sunderland again after his last round of discussions.
While the former Chelsea defender did return to Wearside after a long absence last week, Ndong remains absent with Donald confirming that the club are unaware of his current whereabouts.
Donald knows that this behaviour is worthy of withholding pay, but he is still not sure whether the conduct constitutes a breach of conduct - although lawyers are examining this.
He said: “I’m certain we are allowed to fine them for their behaviour, but the question is whether they have done enough to be in breach of their contracts to terminate their contracts and pursue them for wilfully devaluing themselves. That is the question.
“But the bottom line is, Didier Ndong has shown no interest in returning to the football club whatsoever – we don’t even know where he is.
“Papy has returned but in his last conversation said ‘you’ll never see me in Sunderland again’.
“So I don’t think either of the two players wants to be here anyway.
“The question is, of course, what can they get out the football club? It’s all very well saying they don’t want to be here, but I’m sure the legal advice will say we’ve done something wrong and the players would return etc. We will see where that goes.
“But our view of it is we have done nothing wrong; we haven’t asked them not to turn up, we haven’t asked them to be unfit, we’ve honoured their contracts to point at which they are not breaching it, and to the point they’ve breached it we’ve said ‘enough is enough’.
“Just because they now can’t move, we don’t think they behaved well enough for us to turn around and say ‘all right, come back and we’ll pay you’. Never mind play them, because neither of them are in condition to play.
“I think for them to expect us to pay them, when they’ve said they don’t want to be here, when they’re in breach of contract, when they don’t want to turn up…
“But then they come back, but they don’t come back in a condition in which they can play football, buy say ‘you can pay us’.
“If there’s a rinky-dink somewhere in the law that says we’re obliged to pay them, I don’t think that should be the case. Any right-minded human being would say they have continually breached their contracts and Sunderland should not be paying for that.”
Donald - who confirmed that the final instalments to bring the duo to the club had recently been paid - also again reiterated the club's stance around the pair's return to training.
While Djilobodji was allowed leave in July, the club gave the defender guidelines to stick to.
But these were not met and the Sunderland chief feels that this only serves to emphasise the lack of commitment to the club.
He knows that both Djilobodji and Ndong will argue their case, but Donald feels they have little to back themselves up with.
"The reality is that they [Djilobodji and Ndong] were supposed to report back in training in July, but they made no secret of the fact they wanted to find other clubs," he added.
“We gave Papy Djilobodji permission to not be with us in July, when he said he wouldn’t turn up if we didn’t pay him, so he could find another club.
"We gave him some guidelines to keep himself fit to make sure he was up with the pre-season standards, but he didn’t turn up in August whilst looking for a move, and with the transfer window shutting neither player managed to find a club.
“There’s an obligation on you as a player to turn up in a condition in which you can play football, and the reality of it is that I would probably have beaten his stats when he returned.
"He was unfortunately way off what everyone else in pre-season turned up in, and then his commitment to us from there was, in the very next training session to get himself fit, he didn’t turn up.
“When you’ve not turned up for 72 days and missed eight games of the season, and you come up in a condition which means you’ll probably miss the next 12 games, I think that sort of says you’re not really committed to the contract you’ve got.
“That’s the view we’ve taken, but I don’t think the player obviously agrees with that so he will argue his case.
“I’m not entirely sure what that case is though.”