SINCE selling Stephane Sessegnon, Sunderland have lacked a maverick – that player who often frustrates, yet conjures up a moment of magic.
Ricky Alvarez’s 25-minute cameo against Swansea suggested he could fill that void.
The on-loan Inter Milan midfielder should not be suddenly seen as the cure to all of Sunderland’s ills.
Neither will Sunderland necessarily get the best out of him by immediately restoring him to the starting line-up.
Alvarez may be the perfect substitute during the early stages of his Sunderland career; a player who can take advantage of tired legs in the latter stages with his obvious array of trickery.
But when Gus Poyet’s philosophy is all about reliability in possession, Sunderland need someone in their midst capable of doing that little bit out of the ordinary.
As this campaign pans out, the Argentine could emerge as a pivotal figure.