Sunderland may be obliged to buy Ricky Alvarez off Inter Milan at the end of the season, according to the Daily Mirror.
Alvarez joined the Black Cats on loan this summer and he is reportedly close to meeting the terms of the agreement which means that Sunderland will have to pay £7.5 million to sign him on a permanent deal.
At the moment that appears an exorbitant price, considering the lack of impact that he has made during his time at the club so far.
Alvarez has suffered with injury throughout his time on Wearside and, as a result, he has only made three starts for Gus Poyet's side.
He has been one of their disappointments this campaign and his poor form has been a reason behind their struggles to hit the back of the net.
Sunderland were relying on Alvarez to be their creative fulcrum at the start of the season, but his lack of form has seen the pose little attacking threat.
The Argentine is due to start tonight, though, in Sunderland's FA Cup match against Fulham and he will be hoping to start showing his he deserves a regular spot in the team.
Alvarez came to Sunderland with a reputation as a match-winner and if Poyet can get him back to his best he could be a major asset to them as they fight against the drop.