Sunderland have confirmed that French midfielder Yann M'Vila will not be signing for the club on a permanent basis in January as fans and journalists initially thought, revealing that M'Vila "no longer wishes to join Sunderland."
Agreement had been in place - but will not be honoured
The 26-year-old was a fan favourite on Wearside during his loan spell last season, with his consistent performances at the heart of midfield a rare light in what was a rather dark season for the club on and off the pitch.
Rumours began to surface over the summer that the Frenchman would be signing for the club in a permanent deal before the beginning of this season, but those murmurs never came to fruition and instead M'Vila remained with Russian side Rubin Kazan.
However, in a comment published on the club's official website earlier today, Sunderland's CEO Martin Bain stated that there was a "three-and-a-half-year agreement in place" with the player but that after discussing matters with manager David Moyes the club have opted "not to enforce the contract."
Sunderland will have to look elsewhere in January
"Any player that we bring to Sunderland Football Club must be wholly committed", added Bain, who was "contacted this week by Yann M’Vila’s representatives" who advised the club that the player does not wish to join the Black Cats despite publicly admitting his desire to do so in the summer.
Bain concluded his statement by saying that although M'Vila will not become a Sunderland player in January, the club "wish him well for the future."
M'Vila's change of heart will no doubt frustrate Black Cats supporters after the player admitted several times on social media app Instagram over the summer that he wanted to sign for the club, but that the decision was not his to make.
Sunderland will now have to find themselves a new midfielder in January, having seen injuries to midfielders such as Lee Cattermole, Lynden Gooch and Paddy McNair leave their squad looking paper thin in the central midfield area.