Emanuele Giaccherini looks increasingly likely to remain in Italy next season after beginning to find his feet at Bologna.
The Sunderland midfielder joined Bologna on a season-long loan deal in August after then head coach Dick Advocaat decided the 30-year-old wasn’t physically strong enough for the Premier League.
Giaccherini endured an injury-hit start with his new employers, but he has netted in each of his last two Serie A games.
Reports in Italy have indicated that Giaccherini’s chances of staying in Italy on a permanent basis are increasing, and he is willing to remain at Bologna.
The Italian international’s agent stressed last week that Giaccherini was due to return to Sunderland at the end of the season, with no permanent deal in place with Bologna, who are only covering a portion of his big-money wages at the Stadium of Light.
But Giaccherini will only have a year remaining on his Sunderland contract next summer, with the Black Cats likely to recoup what they can for a player who set them back around £7million.
Giaccherini is one of two members of the first-team squad currently out on loan, with winger Will Buckley struggling to make an impression at Leeds United.
Buckley’s loan spell at Elland Road expires in January and the 25-year-old is expected to return Sunderland after making just one Championship start, despite a permanent clause being inserted into the deal.
However, Leeds are still hopeful of signing Buckley’s Sunderland and ex-Brighton team-mate Liam Bridcutt before next Thursday’s emergency loan deadline.
Leeds’ pursuit of Bridcutt has dragged on for more than a fortnight, but boss Steve Evans has held productive talks with the ex-Chelsea youngster, who is keen to join them on loan.