Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has tipped Ahmed Elmohamady to prove he is worth a permanent deal next year.
Bruce and the Black Cats have first option on the Egyptian midfielder who is currently on Wearside for a season-long loan.
The 23-year-old, once dubbed the 'Egyptian Beckham', has seen his form dip of late after a tough debut league campaign.
Yet Bruce believes the player will come good during the remainder of the season, with a view to signing a permanent deal at the Stadium of Light.
"Ahmed is a little raw, but he will get a lot sharper with experience," Bruce told the Chronicle.
"When he comes back next season it would not surprise me if he has come on again.
"We will look to get the deal done at the right time - he is tied down to us contractually so there is no-one else who can take him off us.
"We are very happy with the way he has played and we are happy to have him on board."
Elmohamady has become a fan favourite at Sunderland thanks to his powerful runs down the right wing, a quality that has seen the player marked out as an exciting prospect.
Having taken the player from Cairo-based side ENPPI, Bruce admits that he did not believe the player was capable of having such an immediate impact.
Bruce added: "I did not expect him to make the impact he had because he was still so young when we brought him over.
"He already has 22 caps for his country and he is still only in his early 20s, so you know he has to have something.
"People look down a little on Egypt and I never know why - in the Fifa rankings last year they were ranked ninth in the world.
"Sometimes you have to cut people a little slack and consider what they have to cope with. Ahmed has come over here to a completely different culture and way of life.
"It is his first season in the Premier League and, although he has played right-wing previously, he has spent far more time in that position than he ever has done before."