STEPHANE SESSEGNON ended months of speculation over his future last night after West Brom shelled out a club record £6million for the Sunderland forward.
Sunderland had been willing to listen to offers throughout the summer for Sessegnon, despite the Benin international only penning a new contract at the Stadium of Light last August.
But interest from Qatari outfit El Jaish last month never materialised into a concrete bid and it looked as if Sessegnon would remain on Wearside, with head coach Paolo Di Canio insisting the 29-year-old was part of his plans.
Sessegnon was left out of Sunderland’s squad for Saturday’s defeat at Crystal Palace though after being charged with drink driving in Newcastle last week.
And after a day of haggling with the Baggies yesterday, the two clubs eventually agreed terms on a £6m deal, with Sessegnon penning a three-year deal at the Hawthorns.
Sessegnon said: “I am happy to close the deal because the day was long. I want to play football now.
“They’re a club who play good football with good players, so for me, it’s a very good choice.
“I’m happy to sign for West Brom and I’m excited to start now.
“The manager (Steve Clarke) said he wanted me because he wants to play more football and to get some movement from the team and create more chances.”
Sessegnon had been anonymous in Sunderland’s opening two games of the season after a similarly inconsistent campaign last year.
But in his 97 appearances for Sunderland, he had proved to be a match-winner for the Black Cats – romping to the club’s Player of the Season accolade in 2011-12.
That had attracted attention from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, yet Sessegnon remained at the Stadium of Light last season – penning a lucrative new three-and-a-half year deal 12 months ago which made him one of the club’s top earners.
But with owner Ellis Short frustrated by Sessegnon’s performances last season, plus the constant speculation over his future, Sunderland were willing to offload him this summer.
Sunderland have recouped the £6million they paid PSG in January 2011, for a player who turned 29 in June.
And with Sunderland conscious of the need to correspond with Financial Fair Play after bringing 14 players to the Stadium of Light this summer, the club have effectively moved to balance the books by offloading Sessegnon.
West Brom also signed Everton striker Victor Anichebe for a fee which could rise to £6million.