It would be fair to say that Sunderland's dalliances into signing players of African origin who have played their football in France have been nothing short of disastrous in recent seasons. To fully confirm that suggestion, the final remaining trio are proving to be problematic once more this summer.
Supposedly former Ivory Coast international Lamine Kone reported for pre-season but has been left behind from Sunderland's summer trip to Portugal as he moves nearer the Stadium of Light exit. The 29-year-old had been linked with a move to Reading but claims today appear to suggest that the Royals are unlikely to be able to afford the player's wage demands.
Meanwhile, his former colleague at the heart of David Moyes defence, Papy Djilobodji, has failed to report for duty today and was last seen following his former Senegal teammates at the World Cup.
In truth, the defender signed from Chelsea in 2016 has never shown much respect for the club which gave him a second chance to make it in England. The centre-back, also now 29, infamously only managed 59 seconds of a League Cup game after his move to Stamford Bridge three years ago.
And of course, not to be outdone, Didier Ndong is also AWOL - and not for the first time in his career. The Gabon midfielder has managed to get himself in hot water with his international bosses a couple of times for failing to report for training whilst on duty with his country.
Sunderland's record signing landed himself a final opportunity to make it in the Premier League after failing to make an impact at Sunderland with a January loan move to Watford. That stint proved utterly pointless with the 24-year-old failing to make a single first team appearance amidst suggestions he was undergoing some personal problems. Ndong has been linked with a move to Torino in recent weeks but the Serie A side appear to have given up the pursuit amidst suggestions the player and his agent were making extravagent demands over signing-on fees and wages.
There are scores of players who make the move from France into English football and make a success of the trip across the Channel of course. Ligue 1 has been a fertile hunting ground for Premier League and Championship sides in recent years and continues to churn out affordable talent. Sunderland being Sunderland of course, have had their fingers burned badly by this trio who have largely proven to be an expensive dalliance that most would rather forget.