Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has hailed Santiago Vergini's versatility as he plans for another campaign in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old proved he could play at both right-back and centre-half after joining the Black Cats on loan from Argentine side Estudiantes in January, playing 14 times.
A permanent deal could now be on the cards as Poyet bids to create the right balance in his squad.
In comments reported by the Sunderland Echo , Poyet is quoted as saying: "In any squad, if we play 4-3-3 - my system - I like to have three goalkeepers and seven defenders, not eight.
"I want two players for (each) place in the other positions, but not at the back - I like to use that extra player somewhere else, so you can have a squad of 23.
"If one of the defenders can give you the option to play somewhere else, it helps you.
"When you've got a centre-half who is only a centre-half, you need a full-back who can play both sides.
"When you've got a centre-back who can play right-back, it gives you a big hand and I know Santiago can play there now.
"I knew it, having watched him play right-back in Argentina, but he has also shown now he can do it well in the Premier League."
He added: "It's something to analyse. Every situation is different.
"We just have to see what happens, we don't know if he's got an offer elsewhere."