Viana has demonstrated little of the ability that earned him his reputation as one of the world’s best young players since arriving at St James’ Park and recently told the Portuguese media that he wanted to play a lot more first-team football, even if that meant him leaving the club.
Sir Bobby told The People: "Hugo has been to see me about the fact that he's not playing and for him to play in the European Championships for Portugal he needs to play.
"I know that, I understand it and I have sympathy with him. I saw him on Monday and he said: 'Is there a chance I could go out on loan?'
"Now we could let him go out on loan, there are plenty of clubs that would take him. I'm sure if we said we'd release Hugo Viana for three or four months we'd get a queue of clubs interested.
"But they would have to guarantee that he played. It's no good me loaning him to a club and him being a substitute again.
"He'd have to be a certain starter and it would have to be abroad because I wouldn't want him to play against us. I wouldn't want him to help any other Premiership club. We haven't paid £8 million to help someone else.
"I'm not ruling it out, I've got to consider it - it's just a question of whether we accede to that.
"That's my problem until the end of January. I know the transfer window opens in January but we could wait until the end of January and then say: 'Go out on loan for February, March and April'.
"But there's no question of him leaving on a permanent basis. We're happy with his contract and we're happy that we've got him."
If the club were to sell Viana now they’d probably only get a fraction of what they paid for him, so a successful loan spell abroad might just prove to be a good way to get his value up.
Of course the best scenario is for Hugo to go on loan, clinch his place in the Portuguese squad for Euro 2004 and then return to St James’ Park with his confidence high next season, because he doesn’t seem to be too much use to us in his current frame of mind.