There was a tug of war between Rennes and Saint-Etienne to sign Wahbi Khazri from Sunderland in the summer transfer window.

The forward spent the last season on loan at Roazhon Park and therefore, they wanted to sign him on a permanent deal.

However, they were unable to convince the Tunisian international to join them as Jean-Louis Gasset’s side managed to secure his services in the end.

He was allowed to go out on loan because the Black Cats were relegated to the Championship. Things went from bad to worse for the English club, as they dropped further down to League One and the 27-year-old has revealed that his reluctance to play in the lower division convinced him to leave Sunderland.

In a lengthy interview with French newspaper L’Equipe, Khazri has explained the reason behind his decision to join his current employer.

“I didn’t want to stay at Sunderland, who were relegated to the third division. Rennes and Saint-Etienne were the two clubs interested in signing me,” he said.

“I had a special relationship with Sabri Lamouchi (Rennes coach). He is more than a coach to me, he taught me a great deal. 

“On the other side, there was Jean-Louis Gasset, an extraordinary coach who has done everything for me to come and that has really weighed in the balance. I went to Saint-Etienne because I felt that all the club wanted me really.” 

At Rennes, Khazri had an opportunity to play in the Europa League, something he will miss out on at Saint-Etienne this season.