FABIO Borini was voted the Black Cats’ best signing of the season according to fans in the Echo’s big end of season survey.
It was a close-run thing between Borini and his countryman Vito Mannone, but the two Italians were miles out in front when it came to selecting the finest players in red and white last season.
Between them, the pair polled more than 80 per cent of the votes in this category.
Along with Adam Johnson, Borini was the only other player to score 10 goals for Sunderland. and some of those goals were corkers.
He scored a stunning, late winner in the 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light in October and he also scored the coolest of penalties in the return against the Magpies, setting the Black Cats on their way to a 3-0 victory at St James’s Park in February.
He also, of course, scored Sunderland’s tremendous goal in the 3-1 Capital One Cup final defeat to Manchester City at Wembley in March which gave so many fans one of their most memorable moments of the campaign.
His last goal of the season came in the 3-1 defeat to Swansea on the final day of the campaign, but it was also the goal which took him into double figures – the on-loan Liverpool forward’s aim when he first arrived on Wearside – and underlined the contribution he had made on his season-long stint.
Goalkeeper Mannone was voted Sunderland’s Player of the Season by fans – an accolade which reflected his contribution across the whole of the campaign.
And the fact that his contribution went from being awesome in the midway part of the season, to merely impressive in the last few weeks, possibly prevented him from pipping Borino at the post.
But, apart from those two, there were few real contenders for players of the season.
Among the other contenders, Marcos Alonso received a mentionable amount of votes for his quietly exemplary displays down the Black Cats; left flank after signing on loan from Fiorentina in January.
And the former Bolton man might have scored more highly with fans had he arrived last summer and been able to give Sunderland the benefit of his services from the start of the season.
Ki Sung Yueng and Emmanuele Giaccherini also featured among those attracting votes for best signing of the season.
But there was no doubt that, as far as Black Cats’ supporters were concerned, when it came down to the club’s best signings in 2013-14, it was definitely an Italian job.