Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will monitor the fitness of on-loan defender John Mensah for the rest of the season before deciding whether or not to make a permanent move for him.
The 27-year-old Ghana international has been hugely impressive when he has played for the Black Cats this season, but a back condition has limited him to just 13 appearances since his arrival on a season-long loan deal from Lyon last August.
Bruce said: "He is a very, very good player. The problem he has got is the ongoing problem with his injuries. He has still got three years left at Lyon, so ultimately we will have a conversation when the time is right and see what happens from now until the end of the season."
Sunderland's medical team have now come up with a fitness programme in order to manage the situation, and the defender has started the last four games on the trot despite training with his team-mates only on a Friday.
However, while Bruce has been left marvelling at Mensah's ability, he knows the fitness issue is a big one.
"We have got him into some sort of programme which benefits him," added Bruce. "There's no disputing that he does tire badly in games, which is normal because he doesn't train a lot.
"But he can get away with it because of his natural ability. He is a fantastic player, it is just an absolute crying shame, the ongoing problems he has.
"As a defender, he is unbelievable, superb, as good as you get."
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