John Mensah will not be handed a permanent deal by English Premier League side Sunderland.
The Lyon defender has spent two seasons on loan with the Black Cats and is keen on a third season, but Sunderland have decided that his persistent injury problems make him too much of a risk.
Ghana captain Mensah’s wholehearted approach and undoubted quality made him a crowd favourite in his time on Wearside.
But injuries have meant he has played less than half of Sunderland’s games in each of the last two seasons, with back, hamstring, knee and shoulder problems all keeping him out at various stages.
Mensah’s last appearance for Sunderland came in the final home game of the campaign against Wolves, and ended on a sour note when he stormed straight down the tunnel after being substituted near the end of the 3-1 defeat.
He did not figure in the last game at West Ham at the weekend, but that was due to yet another injury rather than any punishment for his rare indiscretion.
For his part, Mensah has left the door open for a possible return to Sunderland, praising boss Steve Bruce and his former team-mates at the club, saying: “I have really enjoyed my stay here and I want to say a big thanks to my bosses, mates and fans for their warm reception.
”I have worked under many mangers, and I can say for a fact that my current superiors are one of the best managers I have worked with.”
But even he admits his future is up in the air, adding: ”It is too early to answer what will happen, as we just ended the season.
”Maybe I won’t stay but, as I always say, footballers are like a bird in flight – they can move at any time or come back, so it is difficult to predict.”
The 28-year-old is also reportedly a target for Scottish champions Rangers, with his agent Fabien Piveteau saying: ”Rangers have expressed interest in John, but we are looking at other offers and taking into consideration the price tag before making a move.
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