Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill is considering the possibility of bringing forward Asamoah Gyan, who at £13.8 million represents the club's biggest signing, back from a loan spell in the United Arab Emirates.
"Really, it's a matter of me introducing myself to him more than anything else and finding out how the land lies," said O'Neill, who recently took charge of Sunderland after the sacking of Steve Bruce.
"In terms of the way the contract and deal has been structured, it may well be there's no chance of getting him back at that time. Perhaps the club he's involved with have a pretty strong hold on him in many aspects, but still it'd be nice to have a few words, and that I intend to do."
Ghana international Gyan signed for Al Ain in September having only moved to the Stadium of Light in August 2010. Gyan had fallen out of favour with Bruce after a series of disappointing performances and a return of 11 goals in 37 appearances in his 13 months in the Premier League.