Published Thursday, 30 August 2012
Kilrea's Martin O'Neill is pleased with Sunderland's recent signings. (© Getty)
Speculation had been rife over Sessegnon's future at the Stadium of Light, but the 28-year-old Benin international signed a new three-year deal on Thursday which retains his services for the Black Cats until 2015.
"When he sees the likes of Fletcher and Johnson coming into the football club, I think that helps make your mind up a little bit," a relieved O'Neill said.
The manager admitted he had been concerned, given interest from both Sessegnon's former club Paris St Germain and from Arsenal.
I am delighted Stephane is there and he is really necessary for us.
"It's just very, very pleasing to have him," O'Neill added.
"And, when he returns to real proper sharpness, I am hoping he will be the force he was last season - certainly at least for three or four months."
Meanwhile, the Black Cats are on the prowl for a possible replacement for Kieran Richardson, with the 27-year-old edging closer to the exit.
The midfielder, who has been playing at the back recently, looks likely to close a deal with Fulham.
"If that goes through, then naturally we would be looking at someone in that position," O'Neill said.
"I think Kieran might have the option of playing further forward for Fulham, which might be his preferred position. But if he did go, then we would be looking at something and I am pretty confident we would be able to resolve that."
Midfielder Jack Colback has filled the left-back slot before, but Sunderland are still keen to boost their ranks before Friday's 11pm transfer deadline.