Sunderland have taken a significant step to resolving the Didier Ndong saga after confirming his departure from the club.
The two parties have reached an ‘amicable’ agreement that leaves Ndong free to find a new club.
He has agreed to compensate the Black Cats if and when that happens.
We take a quick look at what it means for both moving forward….
What exactly does it mean?
Didier Ndong is now no longer a Sunderland employee.
The Black Cats have no wage obligations to the 24-year-old and he is now free to pursue his career as he chooses.
Significantly, the two parties have reached an agreement whereby Ndong will now compensate Sunderland if and when he finds a new club.
For player and club, it is a satisfactory conclusion to a difficult affair.
Both avoid a long and potentially complicated, expensive legal battle that would have provided no guarantees.
Now Sunderland can move on safe in the knowledge that they are not losing out financially, and Ndong can continue his career.
Sunderland will also feel that they have set a significant precedent in how they have dealt with questionable player behaviour.
They felt they were on strong legal ground under FIFA rulings when dismissing Ndong and this agreement is something of a vindication.
Of course, Sunderland will not recoup the significant sum they spent in the summer of 2016 but after a woeful season last time out, that is no surprise. A line can finally be drawn under a tiresome process.
What’s the compensation figure?
The figure is fixed as part of the agreement between the two parties.
Earlier in the summer, Sunderland were believed to have accepted a bid of around six million euros as the midfielder looked close to an exit.
That gives an indication of their valuation, but how the subsequent events have affected that is not yet known
Gabonese outlet isport has claimed that the fee is around four million euros.
The key development is that whatever the figure, it is no longer left to chance.
When is Ndong likely to join a new club?
The midfielder will likely find it a lot easier to find a new club now that he has been able to reach an amicable agreement with Sunderland.
A number of top tier clubs showed interest in his services this summer, including the aforementioned Torino and La Liga side Leganes.
Though his time on Wearside was a disappointment, Ndong has his best years ahead of him and has shown he has natural energy and pressing instincts that could be moulded in the right environment.
It was his demands, rather than his ability, that prevented a move this summer.
Sunderland, though, will be pleased that this is no longer their problem.
It is up to Ndong now to reboot his career.
Wherever he finds a new club, he will not be eligible to play until January, having become a free agent after the summer window shut.
What does this mean for Sunderland moving towards January?
The big question for many supporters is whether this will give Jack Ross the opportunity to strengthen his squad in January.
Ross had been keen to add another attacking option but when expected moves for Ndong and Djilobodji did not materialise, he admitted that he had no chance of strengthening.
Ndong's depature, guaranteeing Sunderland have no further wage obligations, helps but it does not necessarily clear the way for more spending on its own.
Ndong and Djilobodji's departure had been expected and planned for as part of the new regime's FFI (Future Financial Information) agreement with the league. So Ndong going moves them closer to their initial planned budget.
Chairman Stewart Donald has already admitted that Lee Cattermole and Bryan Oviedo staying at the club, while good news on the footballing front, posed a challenge.
The club have faced a constant balancing act with the league's SCMP wage rules.
So essentially, Sunderland's expenditures remain bigger than what they had hoped them to be.
There are positives, with revenues off the pitch increasing. Talks have started with young players with regards to new contracts, something which, if agreed, will make a big difference to the club in terms of protecting their assets and moving to a more sustainable model.
The Black Cats will hope to make additions in January but further departures could still be on the cards.
So this is one barrier to January strengthening removed, but other factors will determine exactly what Ross is able to do.
What’s happening with Papy Djilobodji?
The cases are separate and as of yet, there are no further developments.
Sunderland served Djilobodji notice under his contract after he returned from pre-season late and failed a fitness test.