Sunderland have terminated Didier Ndong`s contract despite their club-record signing arriving back in the North East after a four-month absence.
Earlier on Monday, Sky Sports News reported that the Gabon midfielder had no future at the Sky Bet League One club.
The 24-year-old was pictured at Newcastle Airport on Saturday, while Sunderland had been advised he was on Tyneside somewhere - though they were not expecting him back at training.
A Sunderland statement read on Monday: Sunderland AFC has given notice under its contract with Didier Ndong. The player, who was under contract with the club until June 2021, failed to return to Sunderland for pre-season training in July as scheduled, nor in the subsequent months that followed. No reason was given for his failure to report and continued absence.
As a result, the club has accepted Didier Ndong`s repudiatory breaches of contract and notice of the same has been provided to the player. Sunderland AFC does so whilst retaining the right to pursue the player and any club he may subsequently join in relation to compensation for the value of the player.
Ndong had been quoted in a Gabon news outlet over the weekend as saying he would take a pay cut to play again this season for Sunderland - that after his last realistic escape route of 2018 closed when the Portuguese transfer window shut on Friday.
Sunderland`s club-record £13.6m signing had earlier failed to show for pre-season after a £7m transfer to Torino fell through after he failed to agree personal terms.
Sacking Ndong means writing off a transfer fee, but this does remove him from the club`s wage bill.