Jack Ross has suggested one 'potential solution' to Josh Maja's ongoing contract saga could be a loan return to the Stadium of Light if sold this month.
The Sunderland boss is desperate for clarity over the youngster's future either way.
Maja has been heavily linked with a move to Scottish giants Celtic this week, but Ross has reiterated that nobody has come forward with a 'concrete' proposal to sign the striker.
The 20-year-old's future has been heavily placed under the spotlight after he turned down a much-improved contract offer at the Stadium of Light a fortnight ago.
And a host of sides are thought to be keen to prise Maja away from Wearside, with the youngster potentially able to move for a minimal fee in the summer once his contract expires.
But there has been plenty of speculation surrounding a January exit - but Ross says nothing is forthcoming on that front.
He is, however, keen to see the situation resolved one way or another in the near future.
"I've been quite stoic in saying that I just continue as is," he said.
"Like everybody, I would rather know with clarity how the situation is and how it will unfold.
"I think that's of benefit not just to me as a manager, but to everybody at the club.
"It has dragged on a little bit and I do think we need to seek a solution one way or another.
"In terms of the speculation, that's exactly what it is. There's no concrete offer or interest that we've been made aware of from other clubs.
"That's not to say there isn't or that it hasn't been communicated to Josh by other parties, because that happens in the game.
"But from our point as a club, we've had no communication."
Ross is keen to strengthen his attacking options regardless of Maja's decision during the month, with Will Grigg top of his attacking wishlist.
But should the youngster depart before the window closes, then the Sunderland boss would have to secure two new striking recruits.
However, an agreement to see the purchasing club loan Maja back to the Stadium of Light could be a potential solution to that dilemma - with Ross having negotiated similar deals in the past.
"It's a potential option, a potential solution if you like," he admitted.
"If he did go, then naturally we have to find a replacement at a time when we're also looking to strengthen in that area.
"I've had a similar situation with Lewis Morgan who signed for Celtic in January and was loaned back to St Mirren.
"It was a perfect scenario for me at that juncture.
"So it's something, because of Josh's age and how any purchasing could would view him, that it could be a potential option for us.
"But that isn't anything that has been discussed more than as a potential scenario."