CRISTIAN RIVEROS could be on his way out of the Stadium of Light, with Brazilian giants Corinthians ready to end his Sunderland nightmare.
The South American club made an official enquiry this week for the Paraguayan international, who has failed to make any impression on English football.
And a bid is expected to follow for a player who starred for his country in the World Cup last summer, who was a top player in Mexican football but who has not made the grade in England.
Although the transfer window is closed across Europe, it is still open in Brazil and there is nothing stopping the swift transfer of the player.
Like fellow Paraguayan Paulo Da Silva, he has simply found English Premier League football unsuited to his style of play and it is thought he would welcome a return to South America after just nine disappointing months in the North East of England.
The 28-year-old – expected to be a pivotal player for Sunderland this season - has been involved in only eight matches so far and has impressed in none of them.
Lightweight and anonymous, he has offered nothing to suggest that he might adapt in time to the English game.
But Corinthians believe that he can be a star again on his home continent, just as Real Zaragoza believed when they signed Da Silva last month, that he would be infinitely better suited to Spanish rather than English football.
Manager Steve Bruce confirmed there had been an approach.
“There’s no point denying it,” he told the Echo. “Corinthians have made an enquiry and we are expecting them to make a bid for him.
“It hasn’t happened for him at Sunderland – there’s no denying that either – but, as sometimes happens, you can bring in a player who looks a world-beater in other conditions but then they struggle to have that sort of impact over here.”
The fact that Sunderland have not automatically rebuffed Corinithian’s approach is likely to alert other clubs in South America of his availability and former club Cruz Azul of Mexico could also lodge an interest.
Riveros, who has scored nine goals in 50 appearances for Paraguay, scored 17 goals in 111 appearances for Azul between 2007 and his move to Wearside and his return there would be popular with fans.
Sunderland are unlikely to lose out on any deal. Riveros arrived on a free transfer and although his wages are significant, the Black Cats are likely to recoup their outlay and more on a player who remains very highly rated in South America.