The 29-year old Senegalese defender will spend the remainder of the season with the Black Cats on loan from Al-Hilal but he claims that some other English top flight outfits showed considerable interest with the likes of Aston Villa, Everton, Fulham and QPR all linked.
"The objective of my loan is to prove myself for four or five months and then stay at Sunderland or join another English club," he told France Football.
"During the final days (before my transfer) several clubs contacted my agent to hire me, but I already gave my word to Sunderland."
He added: "At Al-Hilal everything went off smoothly. Then, I had the opportunity to join Sunderland. As there was always the desire inside of me to go to England I said: 'Why not?'
"My departure from Al-Hilal shocked a lot of people. The fans didn't understand why the officials let me go."