SUNDERLAND’S chances of landing Fabio Borini have been boosted by proceedings at Liverpool this week.
Liverpool were on the verge of completing a £16million move for Mario Balotelli last night after the Italian arrived on Merseyside for a medical and to discuss personal terms.
That will push Sunderland’s main summer target Borini further down the pecking order at Anfield, with England strikers Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert already ahead of him in the battle for places.
But the omission of Borini, who has now fully recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered in pre-season, from Liverpool’s squad for the opening day win against Southampton last weekend was also telling.
The Echo understands that is what Sunderland boss Gus Poyet was referring to earlier this week when he said that he hoped to learn more about Borini by Sunday or Monday.
Sunderland hope that the realisation for Borini about his apparent place in Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ plans may persuade him to return to the Stadium of Light.
However, Sunderland are highly unlikely to make a permanent move for Borini now, despite having a £14m offer accepted last month, with the Black Cats subsequently spending a hefty portion of their transfer budget on £10m midfielder Jack Rodwell.
Liverpool would need to agree to a second season-long loan for Borini.
But Poyet again insisted yesterday that Sunderland’s hopes of re-signing Borini were far from dead.
He said: “Nothing has changed. It’s the same as last week.
“It’s still on, nothing has changed for good or for bad. We’re still trying.”
Sunderland are looking at alternative options to Borini though after Poyet confirmed that the Black Cats had made an enquiry for Chile international Eduardo Vargas, before he joined QPR on a season-long loan this week.
However, Sunderland’s interest in Napoli forward Vargas never reached the stage where they had to make a decision between the 24-year-old and Borini.
Poyet added: “We were in the race. Everything didn’t come together - the clubs, the player, the city, the money.
“We had a chance, but I don’t think we were close.
“It was a specific player and that type of striker who can play wide, work up and down and give quality.
“But we didn’t have the chance to say ‘Vargas, and now Borini is finished’. We didn’t get to that point.
“Fabio knows (that Sunderland are looking at alternatives). It’s not like he’s going to find that out in the press.
“He knows we need to be ready at any stage.”