Martin O’Neill keen to retain his services

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has admitted that he is desperate to keep attacker Stephane Sessegnon at the club this summer.

The gifted forward proved himself as an important player for the Black Cats in 2011-12, and as such has been linked with a move to a number of other teams.

Despite this, the Northern Irish coach has revealed that he does not want to cash in on his star man during the transfer window.

“You can never tell what’s going to happen over the summer and I don’t want to be saying anything categorically at the start of it which will make us look foolish at the end of it,” he told the Sunderland Echo.

“I don’t want to say something now which will be thrown back at me next season with people saying: ‘Well you said this, or you said that’.

“But there’s no doubt Stephane Sessegnon is a player that we obviously want to keep and we’ll be doing everything we can to do so.

“He adds something to our attack that no other player does and our priority is to improve ourselves as an attacking force next season.

“If you want to do that, you have to look at keeping your best attacking players and attracting others.

“Stephane has been making the right noises about being happy to stay at Sunderland and hopefully that will be the case,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight