Turning in a series of fine displays since Martin O’Neill’s arrival at Sunderland, Stephane Sessegnon’s stay at the Stadium of Light could become short-lived, as Arsenal look to capture the 27-year-old Benin international.
Sessegnon only joined the Black Cats last January, for an adequate £6m fee from Paris Saint-Germain, and his stock has considerably increased during his first year as a Premier League player.
While he failed to set the world alight under the guidance of former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, the arrival of O’Neill, and the added freedom he has afforded the attacking midfielder has seen him flourish, with the Mackems reaping the rewards of seven goals this season.
Another attractive feature of the tricky Sessegnon is his versatility, and his ability to perform anywhere across the midfield as well as in a striking role has peaked Arsene Wenger’s interest.
Wenger is set to face competition from North London rivals Tottenham for the signature of the Sunderland star, but will hope to make him one of a number of summer additions as Arsenal aim to end a trophy drought that is set to extend to seven years by the end of this season.
It is believed that while Arsenal would be unwilling to break the bank to bring in Sessegnon, the club that just yesterday announced operating profits of £49.5m could pay a fee in the region of the £16m Liverpool were quoted, when expressing an interest in the player in January.
A potential bidding war with Spurs would be far from preferable for the Emirates club, and so Wenger would have to move quickly to ensure he can sell the club to the player ahead of a rival who looks certain to finish in a higher league position this season.
There is no guarantee, but Wenger would hope to have the prospect of Champions League football to attract Sessegnon to Arsenal, and his men are 11/10 to achieve a top four finish.