NACHO Scocco’s agent has arrived on Wearside with an official transfer offer from Newell’s Old Boys for the Argentina international.
Scocco’s representative, Fabian Soldini, arrived in the UK ready to test Sunderland’s desire to hang on to a player Gus Poyet saw in January as the key to unlocking Premier League defences.
And Sunderland will have to decide whether the offer is enough to let the 29-year-old go, or to pursue Poyet’s belief that the South American could sparkle in English football once he had a full pre-season behind him.
Sunderland paid Brazilian outfit Internacional just over £3m in January for the signature of a player Poyet had long been an admirer of and who he believed could have the same sort of creative impact as Stephane Sessegnon once had at the Stadium of Light.
But the Argentina international striker failed to make any impression, appearing just six times in the league - all as a substitute - and not getting on the scoresheet once.
Poyet insisted that Scocco would come back stronger next season after adjusting more to life in England and getting the pre-season under his belt which he missed before his move to the Stadium of Light.
But the player himself has admitted over the summer that he is keen to move on, preferably back to South America and most of all to the club where his career began - Newell’s Old Boys.
Now Soldini has travelled to England for talks with Poyet and Sunderland’s sporting director Lee Congerton in a bid to resolve the player’s future.
Newell’s want to re-sign Scocco for a third time but it is all likely to come down to cash.
Although Poyet was reluctant to give up on the player last season, he is also likely to be wary of trying to keep an unhappy player at the club.
The smart money would be on Sunderland cutting their losses and letting Scocco go but if the Argentinian does leave, the Black Cats will want their money back.
Newell’s vice-president Jorge Ricobelli said: “It is our wish to sign Nacho but he has to report back for training in Sunderland.
“We have made some efforts, but he now needs to return to the club so we can continue with talks and we will listen to what Sunderland want in order to let Scocco leave.
“We have no problem looking at either a loan or purchase, as long as it is within the means of
Scocco still has two years to run on the contract he signed at Sunderland at the turn of the year, and as well as the transfer fee, Scocco’s Premier League size wages may also be an issue.
But Ricobelli is confident a deal can be done.
“The idea is to make the effort and analyse all the possibilities,” he said.
“It is worth pointing out that not all clubs in Argentinian football think to buy players who are in Europe.
“The expectation is real, but it is a difficult situation.
“If we manage to bring Nacho back, it will be a totally extraordinary situation.”
Newell’s have the time to be patient but at the same time they would rather a deal be done sooner rather than later.
Ricobelli added: “There are no specific dates to wait for but, yes, there are logical dates.
“We have constant meetings with the coach Gustavo Raggio and believe that Scocco is worth waiting for, but we won’t wait until two days before the start of the league!”