The extraordinary saga at the Stadium of Light is over: frustrated defender Papy Djilobodji has been finally able to escape his predicament with the Black Cats as the two parties came to a separation agreement, very briefly detailed on the club’s official website.
The Senegal international is now officially a free agent and Dean Smith should take a gamble on the centre-back to add some much needed depth to his Villa backline.
The 29-year-old was given leave of absence in July to find himself a new club but, having failed to do so, was stuck on Wearside much to his dismay.
What the 13-capped international did from there was far from professional as he failed to turn up to training when he was supposed to return and then ‘comprehensively failed’ a fitness test, but the mess has been finally cleared up as the tough-tackler’s employment with the League One side has been terminated and he can freely search for a new club.
Smith’s takeover at Villa Park is well underway; the Claret and Blue kept their second clean sheet under their new boss as they claimed a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers last weekend, but the Midlands side are in dire need of defensive reinforcements.
Currently Axel Tuanzebe and James Chester are the only two fully fit, recognised centre-backs at the club, with Alan Hutton and Mile Jedinak filling in at times this season as the Villans were hit with injuries and suspensions.
Veteran James Collins has been training with the side, but there could be a good alternative addition in Djilobodji.
The misfit man-mountain didn’t always have bad blood with his former employers. In fact the 6ft 4in left-footer was a key figure for the first half of the 2016/17 season in which Sunderland were relegated as he made 18 Premier League appearances, averaging a match rating of 7.02 with a whopping 9.2 clearances and 3 interceptions per game (WhoScored).
He could be a very useful squad player for Villa as they begin to regain their composure in the Championship and even though Smith would be risking the wrath of the supporters by bringing a controversial character to the club, it could prove to be a shrewd bit of business.