Sessègnon playing for West Bromwich Albion in 2013
|Full name||Stéphane Sessègnon|
|Date of birth||1 June 1984|
|Place of birth||Allahé, Benin|
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Playing position||Winger, Attacking Midfielder, Second Striker|
|West Bromwich Albion|
|2000–2003||Requins de l'Atlantique|
|2003–2004||Requins de l'Atlantique||2||(0)|
|2013–||West Bromwich Albion||54||(6)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 May 2015.
Stéphane Sessègnon (born 1 June 1984) is a Beninese footballer who plays for English club West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. He is a Benin international having starred for the nation at both the 2008 and 2010 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations. Sessègnon plays a variety of positions as a forward, a winger and as a midfield playmaker.
Sessègnon began his career with Benin Premier League side Requins de l'Atlantique, which means the Sharks of the Atlantic, in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin. After spending only a year in the club's senior team, he ventured to France joining US Créteil-Lusitanos, based in the Parisian suburbs. Sessègnon quickly integrated into the squad, which included fellow international Noel Seka, making his debut on the opening match day of the 2004–05 Ligue 2 season against Stade Reims appearing as a substitute in a 2–1 defeat. He scored his first goal on 14 January 2005, scoring a brace, in a span of four minutes, in a 3–0 win over Gueugnon. Though Créteil finished in 15th position, Sessègnon was labeled a revelation as he was the primary bright spot in helping the club escape relegation.
With Sessègnon keen on a move to Ligue 1, on 19 May 2006, he signed with Le Mans agreeing to a three-year deal. He made his debut for the club in a league match against Troyes appearing as a substitute in a 2–2 draw. After featuring as a sub in his first five appearances, including receiving a straight red card in a match against Sedan, he earned his first start on 4 November 2006 against Auxerre. Two weeks later, he scored his first career goal for Le Mans in a 1–1 draw with Rennes.
Though utilized with Le Mans early on as a holding midfielder, Sessègnon was given a more advanced role for the 2007–08 season, often starting on the right side of the midfield or as an attacker. This proved beneficial for Sessègnon and the club as the new role displayed his versatility, which showed when he scored both goals in the club's 3–2 defeat to giants Olympique Lyonnais on 1 September 2007. He scored again the following week in a 1–0 victory over Valenciennes. Sessègnon also helped the club reach the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue that season where they lost to Lens in a thrilling 5–4 defeat in extra time. Sessègnon played the entire 120 minutes.
Due to his two impressive seasons with Le Mans, Sessègnon became the subject of several scouting missions by larger clubs. He drew interest from Premier League sides Arsenal and Newcastle United before opting to remain in France signing a four-year deal with Ligue 1 club Paris Saint Germain. The fee was said to be in the range of €8 to 10 million.
Sessegnon made his league debut with the club on 16 August 2008, starting in the club's 1–0 win against Bordeaux. The following match day, he scored his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw with Sochaux. On 13 December 2008, Sessègnon scored his third career brace against Auxerre in a 2–1 victory. For his positive performances, he was named the UNFP Player of the Month for December. Sessègnon also appeared in nine matches in the UEFA Cup scoring one goal against Dutch club Twente.
After the season, several clubs contacted Paris Saint-Germain to discuss Sessègnon's availability on the transfer market with Premier League clubs Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, and Manchester City being the primary suitors. Following the overwhelming interest, on 23 June, Sessègnon went public demanding his parent club give him a pay raise, stating, "I think I am one of the best performers in the club." The firing of manager Paul Le Guen also played a role in his demands. Two weeks later, Sessègnon and the club reached an agreement on a contract extension with the player set to receive a substantial pay raise.
In the 2010–11 season, Sessègnon struggled to make an impact with the first team after being relegated to a substitute's role by manager Antoine Kombouaré. The friction between the player and manager reached its zenith in December 2010 when Sessègnon accused Kombouaré of insulting him during a one-on-one interview ahead of the team's match against Nancy on 19 December. Sessègnon, subsequently, confirmed his desire to leave the club in the January window and, as a sign of his intent, refused to join Paris Saint-Germain on its winter training camp in Morocco.
On 29 January 2011, Sessègnon departed Paris Saint-Germain to join English club Sunderland. He signed a three-and-a-half year contract and the transfer fee was priced at £6 million, and made his debut on 1 February against Chelsea. He made his second start for the Black Cats in 3–2 away loss against Stoke City on 5 February 2011. His first real successful moment as a Sunderland player after a disappointing start came on 23 April, where he scored his first goal for the club in the 4–2 win over Wigan Athletic. He converted a penalty of his own making in the 73rd minute, beating Ali Al Habsi after being tripped by Antolin Alcaraz. Sessègnon had been forced to play in an unfamiliar role as a lone striker, after injuries to strikers Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan during the game.
In his second season at Sunderland, he scored his opening of the season against Bolton on 22 October 2011. Sessègnon followed this up with an 89th minute equaliser against Aston Villa a week later, also providing an assist and winning man of the match.
On 8 February 2012 in a FA Cup fourth round replay, Sessègnon scored a dramatic late winner against Middlesbrough in the 113th minute during extra time to take Sunderland into the fifth round again Arsenal. On 4 March, he was sent-off in the game against Newcastle for an elbow to the chest of Cheick Tioté, with Sunderland leading the Tyne-Wear derby 1–0. Newcastle went on to equalise in stoppage time. After the match, Manager Martin O'Neill describe Sessègnon sending off as "daft" and will miss a 3 match ban. Sessègnon returned from his ban to score the third goal in Sunderland's 3–1 win against Queens Park Rangers at the Stadium of Light on 24 March. Although he did not score he set up the assist that Nicklas Bendtner nodded in (on the 45th minute) to make Sunderland lead Manchester City by 2–1. The match finished in a 3–3 draw with Sebastian Larsson (in the 55th minute) scoring to put Sunderland 3–1 ahead then in the 85th minute Mario Balotelli scored to make the score 3–2 and Aleksandar Kolarov scored Manchester city's equalizing goal in the 86th. He won the Player of the Season award for the season of 2011–12.
In Paolo Di Canio's second game in charge, on 14 April 2013, Sessègnon scored against Sunderland's fiercest rivals Newcastle United to put Sunderland 1–0 up to avenge his dismissal in the fixture the previous season. Sunderland went on to win the encounter with their rivals 3–0, with Sessègnon assisting David Vaughan for the third goal. The following week, Sessègnon scored the only goal as Sunderland defeated Everton 1–0 at the Stadium of Light. His season ended prematurely after he was sent off during Sunderland's 6–1 defeat against Aston Villa.
West Bromwich Albion
On 2 September 2013, Sessègnon joined West Bromwich Albion for a club record fee of £5.5 million, rising to £6 million with extras. On 21 September 2013, Sessègnon scored the first goal in a 3–0 win on his debut for West Brom against Sunderland, his previous club. On 9 November 2013, he scored against Chelsea in controversial 2–2 draw at Stamford Bridge. On 15 March 2014, Sessegnon scored the first Albion goal of a 2-1 victory against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, helping Pepe Mel gain his first win as head coach. Sessegnon, thus far, has been a fan favourite at the club and his substitution in matches has often lead to a negative reaction from the fans. He scored his first goal of his second season at the club against Manchester United with a well taken strike in a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.
Style of play
Upon signing for Sunderland, manager Steve Bruce described Sessègnon as a player who "can play on the left, on the right, through the middle – he's lightning quick and he's a match-winner". Bruce also went on to say "Stéphane's a little powerhouse with a low centre of gravity, some great dribbling skills and a good shot."
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stéphane Sessègnon.|
- Stéphane Sessègnon club profile at psg.fr
- Stéphane Sessègnon French league stats at LFP.fr (French)
- ESPN Profile
- Stéphane Sessègnon career statistics at Soccerbase