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.
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.
Sacking him does mean #SAFC likely won't recoup a transfer fee on Djilobodji (unless they opt to sue him), who they just finished paying £8m for. But it will save the club around £3m in wages on a contract that was set to run until June 2020.— Chris Weatherspoon (@christoph_21) September 12, 2018
"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."