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|
|2000–2003||Requins de l'Atlantique|
|2003–2004||Requins de l'Atlantique|
|2013–2016||West Bromwich Albion||79||(8)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 5 March 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11 June 2017
Stéphane Sessègnon (born 1 June 1984) is a Beninese footballer who plays for French club Montpellier HSC. 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 French, in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin. After spending only a year in the club's senior team, he ventured to France to join Créteil, based in the Parisian suburbs. Sessègnon quickly integrated into the squad, which included fellow international Noël Séka, 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 substitute 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 Lyon 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 €8–10 million.
Sessègnon made his league debut with the club on 16 August 2008, starting in the 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 PSG 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 PSG manager Paul Le Guen also played a role in his demands, and 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 Antolín 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, Sessègnon scored his first goal of the season against Bolton Wanderers on 22 October 2011. He 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 United 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. Sessègnon served a three-match ban returning to score the third goal in Sunderland's 3–1 win against Queens Park Rangers at the Stadium of Light on 24 March. Against Manchester City, although he did not score in the match, he set up the assist for a Nicklas Bendtner header in the 45th minute to make the match 2–1 for Sunderland. 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. Sessègnon won the Player of the Season award for the season.
On 30 August 2012, Sessègnon signed a new contract that would keep him at the Stadium of Light until 2015.
In Paolo Di Canio's second game as Sunderland manager, on 14 April 2013, Sessègnon scored against Sunderland's fiercest rivals Newcastle to put Sunderland 1–0 up. 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 home. 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, Sessègnon scored the first goal in a 3–0 win on his debut for West Bromwich Albion against Sunderland, his previous club. On 9 November, he scored against Chelsea in controversial 2–2 draw at Stamford Bridge. On 15 March 2014, Sessegnon scored the first Albion goal of a 1–2 away victory against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, helping Pepe Mel gain his first win as head coach. Sessègnon, 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.
After almost leaving the club at the end of the season after falling out with manager Tony Pulis over selection issues, Sessegnon would return to the first team in the 2015-16 season with consistent performances.
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."
|Le Mans||2006–07||Ligue 1||31||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||31||1|
|Paris Saint-Germain||2008–09||Ligue 1||34||5||2||1||4||0||9||1||49||7|
|West Bromwich Albion||2013–14||Premier League||26||5||1||0||1||0||0||0||28||5|
- Scores and results list Benin's goal tally first.
|1.||4 September 2005||Arab Contractors Stadium, Cairo, Egypt||Egypt||1–2||1–4||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2.||17 June 2007||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||Togo||2–0||4–1||2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|3.||21 November 2007||Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra, Ghana||Ghana||1–0||2–4||Friendly|
|4.||8 June 2008||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||Uganda||3–1||4–1||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|5.||6 January 2010||Stade de Kégué, Lomé, Togo||Libya||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|6.||9 October 2010||Amahoro Stadium, Kigali, Rwanda||Rwanda||3–0||3–0||2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|7.||5 June 2011||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||Ivory Coast||1–3||2–6||2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|9.||16 June 2013||Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako, Mali||Mali||1–0||2–2||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|10.||17 May 2014||Estádio Nacional 12 de Julho, São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe||São Tomé and Príncipe||1–0||2–0||2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|12.||1 June 2014||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||São Tomé and Príncipe||2–0||2–0||2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|13.||20 July 2014||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||Malawi||1–0||1–0||2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|14.||14 June 2015||Estadio de Bata, Bata, Equatorial Guinea||Equatorial Guinea||1–0||1–1||2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|15.||6 September 2015||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||Mali||1–1||1–1||2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|16.||12 November 2015||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||Burkina Faso||1–0||2–1||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|17.||27 March 2016||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||South Sudan||1–0||4–1||2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|19.||4 September 2016||Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako, Mali||Mali||2–5||2–5||2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|20.||11 June 2017||Stade de l'Amitié, Cotonou, Benin||Gambia||1–0||1–0||2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
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