Stephane Sessegnon admits things have been 'difficult' for Sunderland of late, but insists he has no intention of turning his back on the club.
The Benin international arrived on Wearside in January after falling out with previous employers Paris St Germain.
A fresh start was welcomed by the midfielder, with the Premier League presenting him with a new challenge.
Things have not gone entirely to plan for the Black Cats, though, with Steve Bruce given his marching orders at the end of November after overseeing an alarming slump.
Sessegnon formed part of a squad that seriously underperformed under their former boss, and it is for that reason that he is determined to stay and help to put things right.
A return to French football has been touted, but the 27-year-old claims he has unfinished business in England.
"A winter departure? Even though results have been difficult, I still have something to prove at Sunderland," Sessegnon told France Football.
"There is a challenge here that I have to seize. I prefer not to start planning for the future.
"I know nothing about the rumours linking me with Marseille."
While fully committed to the Sunderland cause, Sessegnon admits he could have been turning out in the colours of a Premier League rival had events turned out differently last summer.
"There was contact from Chelsea and Everton and we almost reached the negotiation stage," he said.
"But I prefer not to live in the past.
"If I had signed for Chelsea maybe things would have been different, but another opportunity always comes along.
"It has been difficult at Sunderland and I have asked some questions. The club were playing well, then results changed when I arrived.
"I think everyone is asking questions, though, and I believe I will be a better player for having experienced this time."