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By ESPN Staff

'Stephane Sessegnon not for sale'

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has confirmed he does not wish to sell midfielder Stephane Sessegnon.

Stephane Sessegnon wants to take the weight off Steven Fletcher's shoulders
Stephane Sessegnon has been linked with a move away from Sunderland.

The Italian was speaking in the wake of reports that the 29-year-old was set to sign a contract with Qatari side El-Jaish. Reiterating his desire to add to his squad, not deplete it, Di Canio remained adamant that given the choice he would prefer to keep the playmaker.

"I have to be clear: I don’t want to sell Sessegnon," Di Canio said. "It’s not something that we have to speak about privately with the board. I don’t want to sell Sessegnon."

However, forced to concede that every player has a price, Di Canio admitted that should his star midfielder -- who signed a new contract just 12 months ago -- leave the club, he will expect two new arrivals in his place. 

"I have given my opinion already: Sessegnon is not for sale and we need to bring in one central midfield player," Di Canio added. "But if he is sold, we have to bring in a central midfield player and another striker.

"If someone wants to sell Sessegnon, I won’t criticise if they bring me a striker with quality and experience, and a central midfield player -- but not as cover, one with a background, good quality, physical presence and experience."

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