Toulouse coach Alain Casanova has backed the club's decision to banish want-away midfielder and Newcastle United target Moussa Sissoko from the first-team squad.
Annoyed by the player's refusal to prolong his current deal, which expires in June, Toulouse president Olivier Sadran had warned Sissoko, 23, he would not play for the club again if he did not extend his contract or seal a move elsewhere in the winter transfer window.
Sadran has now carried out his threat, ordering the France international midfielder be left out of the squad to face Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France on Wednesday evening.
"The club is 100% behind the president's decision," Casanova, who had named Sissoko in his starting XI for last weekend's Ligue 1 victory over Nancy, explained to the media.
"It's really a shame a player who has come through the club's ranks can leave for free. His absence will be a major loss for the team, but the decision is normal."
Though Newcastle are keen on adding the Frenchman to Alan Pardew's squad, and he is equally enthusiastic about moving to St James' Park, they may be unwilling to meet Toulouse's €3 million asking price for a player they can get for nothing come next summer.
Sissoko's representatives are expected to be on Tyneside on Wednesday for talks with the Premier League club, and announced on Tuesday the player would sign a pre-contract agreement later this week before sitting out the rest of the Ligue 1 season in South-West France.
"Moussa has done everything to ensure that Toulouse recoup a transfer fee and he would leave this winter," a member of the player's entourage told RMC radio.
"Newcastle were encouraged to make an offer. However, the shocking attitude of the club directors, who have pushed Moussa out of the group, has pushed us to sign a pre-contract with Newcastle."