Ignacio Scocco could be offered an escape route from Sunderland, if not the one he is hoping for.
Much was expected of the Argentina striker when he joined from Internacional in January but he is still awaiting his first goal for the Black Cats and made little impact either, starting only in the FA Cup, where he was substituted in both games.
With Gustavo Poyet looking to reshape a squad which narrowly escaped relegation last season – a process which took another step when midfielder Jack Colback joined Newcastle United yesterday – Scocco could be sacrificed, particularly after he expressed a wish to return to South America.
Scocco named former club Newell’s Old Boys as the one he would most like to join, but Boca Juniors could beat them to it after banking £2.4m for the sale of Juan Sanchez Mino.
The 24-year-old defensive midfielder joined Torino yesterday, paving the way for a Boca bid to sign Scocco, who cost Sunderland nearly £3m.
Although Scocco had a miserable 2013-14 – not scoring in Brazilian or English domestic football – he has a formidable record in Argentina. Scocco’s last goals were for Newell’s, and he has not been shy about expressing a wish to return, although he is open to any move which takes him back home.
“If you ask me, I’ll obviously tell you that I want to play for Newell’s,” he said recently.
“Newell’s will always be first in my priorities but this time I can’t move a finger to help Newell’s in a possible negotiation.
“I can only give my opinion if you ask me where I want to go.
“Provided there is a possibility to go to Newell’s, then they will have priority, but if there are no possibilities, obviously I will have to look for second choices.”
Meanwhile, the Black Cats will start their pre-season with a friendly against Darlington on July 19.
The game will be one of the Quakers’ last at Heritage Park before moving to their hometown for their first Northern Premier League Division One North campaign. Sunderland also have pre-season friendlies lined up against Hartlepool and Carlisle United.