Paolo Di Canio to cut his losses on Phil Bardsley

PHIL Bardsley will be granted a cut-price Sunderland exit after the Black Cats’ hierarchy told him to find a new club next season.

Sunderland's Phil Bardsley
Sunderland's Phil Bardsley

PHIL Bardsley will be granted a cut-price Sunderland exit after the Black Cats’ hierarchy told him to find a new club next season.

The Journal understands that Bardsley faces a meeting on June 20 – along with the freed Matt Kilgallon – to determine the size of his fine for his casino transgression before the end of last season, and that is likely to be his final dealing with Sunderland.

The Black Cats told his representatives last week that he should look for a new club and there has already been Premier League interest in the right-back, who will be the first of several departures of contracted players under manager Paolo Di Canio.

Hull City are not understood to be one of the clubs that are currently in the market for Bardsley, although he is set to stay in the top flight next year.

Despite still having a year left on his contract, Sunderland know that they will have to accept a smaller fee than they might have expected were it not for the row that broke out surrounding the team night out last month.

That evening ended with pictures of Bardsley covered in money hitting the back of tabloid newspapers.

Bardsley has been seriously devalued by the Di Canio outburst that paved the way for his exit, and Sunderland’s insistence that he must find new employers gives them little hand in any negotiations with interested clubs.

There is certainly no question of Bardsley hanging on for a final year at Sunderland, with

the defender eager to play next season rather than continuing his career under a manager who does not rate him.

Bardsley’s (pictured below) exit is unlikely to shock anyone – not least the player himself, who was braced for the news that was delivered to him last Monday.

But there could be more surprising exits ahead, with Stéphane Sessègnon’s future currently mired in uncertainty.

The Journal revealed last week that his representatives have made contact with other clubs and there is understood to be interest from Marseille in a player who made such a difference during the relegation run-in.

It appears as if Di Canio’s plans for a new Black Cats team have not made Sessègnon indispensable, with Sunderland open to offers for the Benin international. A fee of £8million has been mentioned, which would allow Di Canio to bring in a player more suited to his new system and approach.

The club were linked with a move for Siena’s Alessandro Rosina yesterday – and the 29-year-old can occupy the attacking slot that Sessègnon usually plays in.

Sunderland are also open to enquiries for England Under-21 forward Connor Wickham and fellow striker Danny Graham, who is wanted by Middlesbrough.

Livorno’s Paulinho is understood to be one of Sunderland’s top striker targets, although they are understood to be working on other options in South America.

Simon Mignolet’s agent Guy Vandersmissen has challenged the Black Cats and other teams interested in the goalkeeper to come up with a “decent proposal” for his client.

“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.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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