Reims in no rush to make deal permanent for Sunderland’s Roberge

LOAN MOVE ... Valentin Roberge.
LOAN MOVE ... Valentin Roberge.
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STADE de Reims are yet to agree a provisional fee to convert Valentin Roberge’s loan into a permanent switch.

Roberge joined Reims on a season-long loan on transfer deadline day after the French side had spent two months in talks with Sunderland over the 27-year-old.

Centre-half Roberge, who has almost two years to run on his Sunderland contract, had been keen to leave the Stadium of Light after being limited to eight Premier League starts last season and was orchestrating a move to Ligue 1.

But there has been NO clause set in the loan deal to convert it into a permanent switch next summer, with Reims keen to gauge how Roberge performs in the French top flight.

The former Maritimo man started last weekend’s 2-0 win over Toulouse and says he was eager to renew acquaintances with his ex-Paris St-Germain youth-team boss Jean-Luc Vasseur, who took charge of Reims in the summer.

Roberge said: “There were lots of positive things from my year at Sunderland.

“I wanted to play in France sooner or later, and then it’s football. You don’t know when the opportunity is going to arrive.

“I know the coach and two or three players, so, all in all, it was the best decision for me.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Sunderland.

“But after speaking with the club and the coach, I thought it was truly the right decision to make.”

Reims chairman Jean-Pierre Caillot added: “Without his determination, he would perhaps not be at Stade de Reims.

“He really wanted to come to play for the project. He did not do it for the money.”

Roberge was one of two Bosmans signed by ex-director of football Roberto De Fanti to leave the club on transfer deadline day, with fellow centre-back Modibo Diakite cancelling his contract by mutual consent before penning a one-year deal at Spanish outfit Deportivo La Coruna.

Fellow De Fanti free transfer flop Cabral remains at the Stadium of Light, with Sunderland so far unable to offload the ex-Basel man.

Sunderland are also looking to send out-of-favour striker Danny Graham out on loan after the 29-year-old spent last season at Hull and then Middlesbrough.

Charlton are one of several Championship clubs who have been linked with Graham, but boss Bob Peeters has played down the speculation.

“I heard that another striker, Danny Graham, from Sunderland was coming in as well,” said Peeters.

“It is good that these players are being linked with us because at the start of the season no-one wanted to join us. That must mean we are doing a good job.”

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