Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has insisted Stephane Sessegnon is happy on Wearside despite continued speculation that he could leave the club.
The 27-year-old Benin international has been in fine form for the Black Cats this season but persistent rumours that he has failed to settle in England have alerted potential suitors. The forward has been linked with a series of clubs, including Arsenal and big-spending former employers Paris St Germain.
O'Neill told the Journal: "Sess has been playing brilliantly. I have read he's unhappy the whole time, but he couldn't be happier, believe it or not. I don't think he can play like that if he's unhappy. He's in great form and I'm sure I won't stop the speculation no matter what I try. We want to keep him at the football club because he's been pretty brilliant."
Sessegnon arrived on Wearside in a £6million switch from PSG in January last year, and his invention and enterprise have helped to give Sunderland the kind of cutting edge they had lost with the departures of Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan.
However, his family is still in Paris and that has helped to fuel claims that he could return this summer.
O'Neill has spoken repeatedly of his intention to hang on to a player who has become increasingly influential, and both he and the club's fans will hope he can persuade Sessegnon that his future remains in the north-east.