GUS POYET has confirmed Sunderland have an option to sign loan arrival Ricky Alvarez on a permanent basis.
Argentina international Alvarez is in contention to make his Sunderland debut in tomorrow’s Premier League home clash with Spurs after arriving on a season-long loan from Serie A giants Inter Milan on transfer deadline day.
The 26-year-old and Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates are Sunderland’s latest forays into the loan market, with the Black Cats enjoying success in that area over recent seasons through the likes of Danny Rose, Danny Welbeck, Marcos Alonso and Fabio Borini.
But Poyet and sporting director Lee Congerton have been aware that loans offer few long-term benefits, with Sunderland unable to re-sign both Alonso and Borini this summer.
Mindful of that problem, a permanent clause – thought to be around the £8million mark – has been inserted into Alvarez’s loan, with Poyet believing his initial year at the Stadium of Light offers a win-win situation for both Sunderland and the attacking midfielder.
Poyet told the Echo: “I think we’ve got a chance with Ricky (of making it permanent).
“There is usually an option to buy in these international loans.
“It’s a great way to help each other at the moment.
“We’ve got a player who cost so much money (Inter spent £10m on Alvarez) and is playing for Argentina. It’s something unique.
“We will help him to be a top class Premier League player and he will help us to be a better club.
“If he adapts quickly to English football, the fouls, power and intensity, and we put him in good situations with the ball, he’s going to be great to watch.
“He can play in any offensive position, although I would say he’s used to playing in a 4-2-3-1 where those three play anywhere.”
Poyet had hoped to complete deals for both Borini and Alvarez before the window drew to a close last week, with the Uruguayan insisting that the latter’s goal-scoring record does not make him a like-for-like replacement for the Liverpool forward.
It was one of two additional signings Poyet would ideally like to have made this summer.
With central defensive pair John O’Shea and Wes Brown both reaching the final stages of their careers, Sunderland were looking to make a permanent addition in the heart of the back four and saw a bid for Swansea skipper Ashley Williams rejected.
But considering Sunderland faced a major overhaul of the playing squad after losing 13 players since the end of last season, Poyet is content with the options he now has at his disposal.
Poyet added: “I think the two positions that we somehow couldn’t really find were the Borini position – which it will be known as from now on! – and the possibility of buying a centre-half for the next five years.
“We tried. I’m telling you that.
“But it’s not possible sometimes, so we will keep searching for that.
“When we started, we were always thinking of bringing nine or 10 in – without losing anyone important.
“So we were very close to the numbers that we wanted.
“The good thing is I know what I’ve got now. It’s (the window) finished and we’re going to go with it.
“We need to get the best out of them and pick the best group to play.
“We cannot be 11 individuals, we need to be a proper team.
“But I think the group we’ve got now – and the quantity – helps me to have a more controlled and consistent group.
“It’s a much better number to work with, week in, week out, when everyone is fit.”