Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald has updated supporters on the futures of wantaway duo Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong.
Speaking to the Roker Rapport Podcast, Donald shed light on the reality of the situations surrounding the pair - who have both made it clear that they wish to leave the Stadium of Light following the club's relegation to League One.
Both Djilobodji and Ndong failed to report for pre-season training as they looked to force through a move, although the former did return to the Academy of Light this week.
And Donald confirmed that the defender's time away from the club had been agreed as he sought a move, but the expectation that he was fit upon his eventual return had not been met when he arrived back on Wearside on Tuesday.
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Indeed, upon his return the defender is thought to have told manager Jack Ross that he doesn't feel as if he has done anything wrong during the protracted saga - and failed to take part in the club's training session.
"Papy has turned up this week but the reality of it is that we agreed with Papy specifically," said Donald.
"He requested not to return in July as he’s going to get a move to another club, we said that’s fine, we’ll have an agreement in place but obviously we’re not going to pay you if you’re not returning to training.
"Which he accepted. That was the situation for July but we said that you have to keep yourself in a certain condition.
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"Papy returned, as I understand it he had a conversation with Jack Ross where he said he feels as if he hasn’t done anything wrong.
"He turned up and he had an obligation to turn up in a certain condition, he hasn’t turned up in the condition you would want.
"The following day, training would commence and he never made the training session."
Dider Ndong, meanwhile, is yet to return to training with his current whereabouts unknown.
That is no surprise to Donald, who believes that the midfielder has absolutely no desire to return to Sunderland.
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The Black Cats are now exploring legal avenues concerning both Ndong and Djilobodji - with the chairman keen to fight the club's corner throughout.
"Didier Ndong has shown no interest in returning to Sunderland, so he’s not here," Donald added.
"The players are obviously being devalued as we speak because they are not playing football and if you’re trying to sell a footballer, you get less for them if they are not fit. It’s not our fault they are not fit, we didn’t ask them not to turn up, we didn’t ask them not to keep themselves in trim but they don’t want to be here.
"I don’t know in any industry, where by that is acceptable, where the employer should be expected to pay their wages and let them come back in. We don’t think that is our stance, we don’t think that is acceptable behaviour and to me that is gross misconduct.
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"We are going through the legal process with that and we’ll have to fight our corner.
"I do not see morally in any way shape or form how the football club should spend one more pound on two footballers who have decided that because they do not want to play football for Sunderland in League One, that they are just not going to turn up.
"How is that not gross misconduct?"