Sunderland are sacking problematic defender Papy Djilobodji after confirming that the Senegal international has been handed notice for breach of contract that saw him return from an agreed period of voluntary unpaid leave over a month late.

The Black Cats have issued a statement explaining that Djilobodji was given the month of July to find a new club after informing Sunderland he wanted to leave. He was unable to do so but then failed to report back for training and 'comprehensively failed' a fitness test when he finally did.

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Djilobodji did have a contract until 2020 after joining from Chelsea for £8m in 2016. He spent last season on loan with Dijon in France and only played 21 times for Sunderland.

The full statement from the club on Wednesday read, "Sunderland AFC has given notice under its contract with Papy Djilobodji. Djilobodji, who was under contract to SAFC until June 2020, indicated in June 2018 that he wished to leave the club.

"In order to facilitate that desire, the club entered into a written agreement with the player allowing him to spend the month of July on voluntary unpaid leave.

"When that period came to an end, the player was expected either to leave for a new club – having reached a deal satisfactory to himself and SAFC - or to return in shape to play professional football.

"Instead, he returned to Sunderland over a month later, in the first week of September, ignoring written requests for his return. On his return, he was subjected to the same fitness test that his fellow professionals had undertaken on their return. He comprehensively failed that test.

"As a result, Sunderland AFC can confirm that it has accepted Papy Djilobodji's repudiatory breaches of contract and notice of the same has been provided to the player."