Fabio Borini is looking to fill the void caused by Jermain Defoe’s thigh injury – with the Sunderland striker enjoying a rare summer free from transfer speculation.
Borini is only 25 but has already had six different clubs after his £10million move from Liverpool to the Black Cats last summer.
In the past, several of his summers have been overshadowed by constant transfer speculation.
Now though, he is enjoying his “stability” and looking to continue his impressive pre-season form which has seen him score in three of the five games.
Borini, who netted in Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with Montpellier HSC in Aix-les-Bains, told the Echo: “This is the first time that I am saying the same thing for two years in a row.
“It is a good feeling of stability for me, to know that I am going to be in the same house, have the same team-mates and wear the same shirt – it is a good feeling.
“Pre-season is going well – we work very hard, physically in the gym as well as in training and on the pitch.
“The goals and the results are the reward for that hard work.”
The thigh injury set to keep Defoe out of the remainder of pre-season has seen Borini – who often plays out wide – moved back to his favoured central role.
“I am born as a striker and that is my favourite position, but as long as I am playing and can be in an offensive position to score goals, then I am happy with that,” added the Italian.
“As long as we are attacking, keeping the ball and creating chances then that is good enough for me.”
When asked if Defoe’s injury was a chance to stake a claim to start the season up front, Borini said: “That depends on his recovery – I don’t know how long he will be out.
“Hopefully he is back as soon as possible because he was our top scorer and hopefully he will do it again.
“It is up to me, Jeremain (Lens) and Wahbi (Khazri) to get more goals too.”
Sunderland’s immediate priority is to add players – with a striker top of the list and Borini, impressed with David Moyes, would welcome the competition.
“Yeah, of course, because doing the whole season with two strikers is tough and because Jermain is out injured it is basically me up front,” added the former Chelsea, Swansea, Parma, Roma and Liverpool striker
“If something happened to me then we would have no other option than to play someone out of position.”
Discussing the arrival of ex-Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad boss Moyes as manager, added: “First impressions are really positive – he is a hard working manager and works on the pitch daily.
“He works personally with the team and he is good.
“I think also you can see the experience he had in Spain because he works very precisely on what he wants tactically – and he is really positive.”
One of the younger players to have caught the eye in France has been 17-year-old striker Joel Asoro.
Borini saied: “He is a good, young talented player, very fast, has good movement and good personality on the pitch and isn’t scared of playing with the big boys – the big defenders.
“He needs to improve, he is only young and we are not asking him to lead the team, but he is also another good option.”