MARCOS Angeleri could be heading home to former club Estudiantes as Sunderland look to cut their losses on the Argentine defender.
Angeleri has only made two brief substitute appearances in the Premier League since arriving in a £1.5million deal from Estudiantes last summer.
The 28-year-old has failed to convince boss Steve Bruce that he can adapt to English football, with his chances not helped by aggravating an existing knee ligament problem during Sunderland’s pre-season friendly with Benfica.
Despite Sunderland’s decimated squad set to become even more depleted during the summer when their loan players return to their parent clubs, Bruce is willing to let Angeleri leave.
Estudiantes are keen to re-sign the right-back while there will be no shortage of interest elsewhere in South America, where Angeleri is still held in high regard.
Bruce said: “If Marcos can’t find another club then he’ll certainly have another chance here next season, but it might be better for him if he can get fixed up somewhere else.
“There is talk that Estudiantes want him in Argentina.
“I think he re-injured his knee against Benfica and he never really recovered from that. He’s been half-fit all season which is a horrible position to be in as a player.
“But then he still played for Argentina six weeks ago which shows that he’s still highly-rated.”
Angeleri’s chances of forcing his way into Bruce’s reckoning weren’t helped when he criticised the Sunderland boss after winning his fourth cap for his country against the USA in late March.
The defender was fined by Sunderland after suggesting he had been frozen out by Bruce because he wasn’t English.
But there has been little evidence during his brief appearances that Angeleri will be a success story on Wearside and he returned to Argentina earlier this month for further treatment on his knee.
He will have a chance to impress potential suitors though next month after again being included in the national squad for a friendly against Nigeria.
Angeleri has found support in one quarter at least with Newcastle’s Argentine winger Jonas Gutierrez admitting he has been surprised as his fellow countryman’s lack of first-team football.
Gutierrez said: “I cannot understand why he has not played for Sunderland. He is strong, quick, a very good player. It is strange.
“The manager (Bruce) took him in. It has been hard for Marcos. But it is always hard for South Americans to come to England and play well in their first season.
“It is a completely different lifestyle, a different culture and a completely different way of playing football.
“But it is the manager who makes the decisions to bring players over here. Marcos is a great player and I believe he has a good future.”