A hearing to determine the outcome of Sunderland's ongoing battle with Inter Milan over former loanee Ricky Alvarez is set to get underway on Friday.
Sunderland and Inter Milan have been at loggerheads for more than a year and the Black Cats could be forced to shell out £8million for a player they do not own if the case goes against them.
The case is listed in the order of business for tomorrow at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
A final decision could take a number of weeks, though.
Should Sunderland lose the case, it would put a significant dent in the club’s already limited coffers with the January transfer window just around the corner.
Although, the Echo understands money has already been set aside in case of the worst case scenario.
The hefty €10million transfer fee was originally agreed in Alvarez’s season-long loan switch to the Stadium of Light.
The fee became compulsory if the Black Cats were able to retain their Premier League status in 2014-15, which they successfully managed under Dick Advocaat.
Sunderland argued that Inter’s hesitation in approving knee surgery for the Argentine international was a breach of contract and justified them pulling out of the move.
The long-running case involving Italian giants Inter Milan and Sunderland AFC is listed on the CAS website’s list of hearings.
In the 2014-15 campaign, Alvarez made a total of 17 appearances for the Black Cats, scoring one goal during his short spell on Wearside.
He made only five Premier League starts.
The dispute over his permanent transfer left the Argentinian midfielder in limbo, with neither Sunderland or Inter Milan wanting Alvarez back.
After a short spell without playing football, he was allowed to join Sampdoria on a short-term deal in January with special dispensation while his long-term future was decided.
The 28-year-old then signed for Sampdoria in the summer as a free agent and has since made 12 appearances for the Italian side, scoring one goal.