SUNDERLAND will receive around €4m if Didier Ndong finds a new club after thrashing out an agreement that has formally ended the midfielder’s employment with the Black Cats.

A series of discussions with the Gabon international’s representatives have finalised the terms of his departure from Wearside.

Ndong’s employment as a Sunderland player officially ended on October 8, and crucially, the Black Cats have secured an agreement that will see the 24-year-old pay around €4m if he signs for another club.

Sunderland officials were adamant they did not want to sever their ties with Ndong, only to see him join new employers without a penny changing hands.

The Black Cats had threatened to retain Ndong’s registration, a move that would effectively have prevented the midfielder from seeking alternative employment, if he had not agreed to a compensation figure.

As it is, Ndong can now get on with trying to kick-start his career, while Sunderland have softened the blow of the dismissal of their record signing. Both parties have avoided what would almost certainly have been a lengthy and expensive legal process by reaching a swift deal.

Ndong became Sunderland's club-record signing when he made a £13m move from French side Lorient in August 2016

He made 54 senior appearances in a Sunderland shirt, scoring his only goal in a 4-0 win at Crystal Palace in February 2017, but the decision was taken to dismiss him when he failed to report for pre-season training in the wake of Sunderland's relegation from the Championship.

Ndong spent more than two months on an unauthorised absence, and was served notice of his dismissal when he eventually returned to Sunderland's Academy of Light training ground last month.

A Sunderland statement said: “Sunderland AFC has reached an agreement with Didier Ndong for his departure on amicable terms. As of 8 October 2018, he is no longer an employee of the club.

“Sunderland AFC has an agreement with the player for a payment by way of compensation upon his signing for a new club.”

Ndong came close to joining Italian side Torino during the summer, only for talks to break down over a disagreement over personal terms. He was also involved in discussions with Spanish side Leganes, and there is a chance that talks could be resurrected with both clubs in the next few weeks.

However, with Ndong having only become a free agent this week, he cannot formally sign for a new club until the transfer window reopens at the start of January.

Meanwhile, Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald has joined the board of trustees at the Foundation of Light, the club’s official charity.

Established by Sir Bob Murray in 2001, the Foundation of Light aims to improve lives right across the North-East by harnessing the power of football to involve, educate and inspire thousands of adults and children every year.

It was responsible for the opening of the £20m Beacon of Light facility this June, and Murray is delighted that Donald has accepted his invitation to join a board of trustees that also includes Kate Adie, Paul Collingwood and Steve Cram.

“I am delighted to welcome Stewart Donald to our board of trustees and to strengthen our links with the football club at the highest level,” said Murray, who is one of Donald’s predecessors as Sunderland chairman.

“I believe Stewart understands what we are striving to achieve and will be very supportive of our ambitions to help change even more lives in the future through the Foundation of Light’s pioneering programmes and the new Beacon of Light, which is one of a kind.

“I know first-hand, and think Stewart already has a very good sense of just how important Sunderland AFC is in inspiring and motivating the people of this fantastic region. I am looking forward to working with him to make a difference where we can.”