Sunderland are continuing to argue their case in the Ricky Alvarez saga, as one of several costs hanging over the club’s head this summer.
Reports emerged in Italy earlier this month that FIFA were minded to side with Inter Milan in the dispute which has raged on for the past year, and force Sunderland to cough up a transfer fee for ex-loanee Alvarez.
There has been no official confirmation from FIFA, but it is understood that the case is far from settled yet, with Sunderland ready to take it to an appeals process.
However, Sunderland could still have to pay the £8million transfer fee which was originally agreed in Alvarez’s season-long loan switch to the Stadium of Light, which became compulsory if the Black Cats were able to retain their Premier League status in 2014-15.
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.
Alvarez joined Italian side Sampdoria on a short-term deal until the end of the season in January, but that was with special dispensation while his long-term future was decided.
But after manager Sam Allardyce and chairman Ellis Short held talks over the transfer kitty to overhaul the Sunderland squad last week, the potential outlay on Alvarez is one of several outgoings facing the Black Cats.
The first instalments are due on the transfer fees of last summer’s signings Younes Kaboul and Fabio Borini this September.
Ever since Sunderland returned to the Premier League, they have tended to buy players in staggered payments, and they are far from alone in that policy.
But with former sporting director Lee Congerton operating on a limited budget last summer, he managed to agree deals with Spurs and Liverpool respectively, to bring Kaboul and Borini to Wearside without an upfront payment.
Sunderland’s transfer funds will be boosted to the tune of around £30m this summer though thanks to the new Premier League television deal.
That will immediately wipe out the club’s annual losses after Sunderland were £25m in the red for the 2014-15 financial year.