SO IT ended in failure.
One of the longest-running transfer sagas in Sunderland’s history finished as an anti-climax when Fabio Borini decided to stay at Liverpool after all.
The longer it went on, the clearer it became that Borini didn’t fancy a permanent transfer, but I thought a compromise deal would be reached in the shape of another season-long loan for the Italian. But it wasn’t to be.
I don’t see that Gus Poyet or Lee Congerton did anything wrong. They had a list of transfer targets with Fabio Borini identified as one of them and tried their best to get him right up to the last minute of the window and why not?
It’s easy to say Sunderland should have washed their hands of him weeks ago, but do we really want a recruitment team to give up on an important target so easily? They gave it their best shot to land Borini and you can’t do much more than that.
The reason Poyet fought so hard for him was he knew what he was getting; there would be no settling-in period for a player who already had a season on Wearside under his belt and he knew he fit perfectly into the system he wants to play.
The angle I’m more interested in – and the one I can’t work out – is just why Borini has, at best, settled for a place on Liverpool’s bench instead of playing week-in, week-out in front of fans he had already won over and would have treated him as a hero.
Of course, money comes into it (it always does) but chasing that isn’t always the best career option and can be short-term thinking.
As the season develops, Liverpool could suffer an injury crisis that gives Borini a chance and if he takes advantage of it, he will feel vindicated. That may or may not happen, but Brendan Rodgers is clearly more than willing to let him go from Anfield.
I must admit I’m disappointed we didn’t get Borini. He would have slotted straight in to that left-sided attacking role that Connor Wickham has occupied, but is not suited to.
Borini also had that habit of getting important goals, giving 100 per cent in every game and was a reliable penalty taker when the pressure was on.
But there’s no point worrying about a player who didn’t want to come, no matter how good, and Borini has the same rights as anybody in any job to make their own decisions.
So maybe when the dust settles, we find it’s in the best interest of all parties that Borini didn’t come, as Sunderland can’t afford to have players who are not committed and whose heart isn’t fully in it.