Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Sunday July 20 2014
Despite a lack of striking options at Anfield, Fabio Borini is to be allowed to join Sunderland for £14m...
After an impressive loan spell with Sunderland last season, Italian international Fabio Borini was widely expected to return to the Liverpool ranks for the upcoming campaign.
The 23-year-old featured in both of the club's pre-season outings last week and also scored in the 4-0 post-season friendly win over Shamrock Rovers in May.
Speaking after that particular game, Kop boss Brendan Rodgers claimed Borini would have a big part to play in his side moving forward.
"He needed to go out and get games," commented the Northern Irishman. "To prove his worth and get experience, and he's done that.
"He has shown, especially in the big games, that he can score goals at this level. We have got back a better player.
"Now, a year later, he will come back into our squad this summer. And you saw there with his pace and his power and his ability to get a goal, he is going to add to the quality that we already have."
However it now looks as if the striker is on his way out of Merseyside on a permanent basis after the Reds received an offer they deemed too good to refuse.
Sunderland, where he notched 10 goals in 40 appearances, are widely reported to have had a £14m offer accepted for the player.
Confirming the news after watching his team defeat Darlington 5-1 on Saturday, Black Cats manager Gus Poyet described Borini as a potentially 'perfect' signing.
"What I can say is that we have agreed [a deal] with Liverpool," remarked the ex-Uruguayan international. "We are waiting for correspondence and then we move on from there.
"It's clear the impact Fabio had last season. And we are going to spend that amount of money on a player because we know how much he can give us.
"He would be perfect for us but it's an ongoing thing."
Borini scored some crucial goals to aid Sunderland's late surge to Premier League safety and was subsequently voted their Young Player of the Year.
The former Roma and Chelsea man still needs to be convinced to return to the Stadium of Light full-time but the move is expected to go through in the coming days.
Rodgers, who also managed the Italian whilst at Swansea City, hinted at such an outcome after watching Borini feature for an hour in yesterday's 2-1 friendly win over Preston North End at Deepdale.
"There is an agreement between the clubs, but nothing is agreed with the player as of yet," admitted the 41-year-old to reporters.
"So he's still very much a Liverpool player, but when that changes, I'm sure you'll be among the first to know."
Borini's short spell in L4 will probably be deemed a failure after an injury blighted debut campaign in 2012-13 yielded just two goals in 20 appearances.
The £14m fee does at least represent a profit of around £4m on a player who was Rodgers' first signing as Liverpool manager, but it does leave the club short of attacking options.
With Luis Suarez and Iago Aspas already departed this summer, Daniel Sturridge and recent signing Rickie Lambert are the only recognised strikers remaining.
Loic Remy of Queens Park Rangers is hotly tipped to help fill the void in an £8m switch from Loftus Road.
I fully expected, particularly given Rodgers' close association with the player, that Borini would stay and see considerable game time next season. The fact that seemingly isn't going to be the case is a surprise but the offer is a very good one and it's understandable why the club has accepted, especially if they already have replacements lined-up. There is a lot to admire about Borini but, if he does depart, very few fans are likely to miss him; for all his energy and work rate, he doesn't appear to have a killer instinct in front of goal nor the technique or skill required to be a consistent threat when played out wide. With Liverpool back in the Champions League and hoping to mount consistent title challenges, the calibre of players has to be better and unfortunately Borini doesn't quite cut the mustard at the very top level [Watch him score a hat-trick against us next season! - Editor].
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Date:Sunday July 20 2014
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