SUNDERLAND’S star players Stephane Sessegnon and Simon Mignolet were both linked with moves away from the club at weekend.
It has been claimed that Sessegnon is unsettled at the Stadium of Light and that Marseille are ready to offer him a return to France.
Sessegnon played for Paris St Germain until January 2011 when Steve Bruce paid £6m to bring him to Sunderland.
But Marseille are rumoured to be ready to offer £8m for his services, with Sessegnon reckoned to be receptive to a return to France, where his young family are based.
It is an interesting story, particularly as there were rumours last week that Sessegnon’s camp has been discreetly testing the waters.
But it would not be the first time that the attacker has been strongly linked with a summer exit only to be playing in red and white when the transfer window closes.
Last summer it was strongly claimed he would be on his way out of the Stadium of Light, with Arsenal one of the names most regularly touted as a potential destination.
But no acceptable bid was forthcoming and the African remained at Sunderland.
New head coach Paolo di Canio is a big admirer of Sessegnon’s but believes he is capable of scoring a lot more goals and is determined to improve that aspect of his game.
There is no suggestion that Sunderland want to let him go and the odds are that Di Canio will keep hold of a player who is a match-winner on his day.
What is likely to be of more concern to the Italian though, is that Sessegnon will become as distracted by transfer talk as he was last season.
The attacker had an abject start to last season and was out of sorts for months before returning to his best form.
Di Canio will hope to counter that, in part, by ensuring this time Sessegnon is at peak fitness from the start of next season.
Meanwhile, Mignolet was again linked with potential moves to Liverpool and Arsenal but his agent, Guy Vandermissen, insists the ball is in Sunderland’s court.
“At this moment, there are some clubs interested,” he said.
“For a lot of players, there are some clubs interested .
“But Simon still has a two-year contract at Sunderland, so we depend upon the position that Sunderland is taking in relationship to an eventual transfer.
“There is another two years on his contract.
“If they want us to stick to that, we will stick to that and perhaps leave after two years if there is an interest in Simon.
“If they want to make a proposal to Simon, they should come up with a decent proposal and we will then have a look at it too.”
Elsewhere, the Black Cats were linked with a potential move for Manchester City’s hot young prospect John Guidetti.
The 21-year-old Swedish international has been sidelined by a virus which virtually wrote off his 2012-13 campaign.
But his agent is Roberto De Fanti, Sunderland’s director of football elect, and if the forward does leave City this summer, the Wearsiders are expected to be in the mix.