Tony Gillan: We should be welcoming Fabio Borini back to Sunderland

Fabio Borini
Fabio Borini
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The majority of football folk around Sunderland seem to be buoyed by the news that Fabio Borini has returned to the Stadium of Light.

But as expected, the city’s sizeable whinging community have managed to be outraged.

A year ago Borini forsook the opportunity to move to Sunderland so that he could remain at Liverpool.

His unpardonable aim was to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world in the Champions League. The black-hearted rotter was being ambitious.

Over-ambitious as it turned out; it didn’t work out and he barely played. He pretty much wasted a year of his career.

He made a bad decision. He also reportedly (though not necessarily truthfully) frightened off QPR with wage demands. But you can’t blame him for trying to establish himself on Merseyside.

The moan that: “He’s only here because Liverpool didn’t want him” is factually perfectly correct.

The tough reality is that there can barely be a footballer on the planet who wouldn’t prefer to play for Liverpool than Sunderland. However, this should not be taken as a personal insult.

Borini would presumably have preferred to have been at Anfield when he was playing on Wearside during the insane 2013-14 season. Yet this was not apparent from his sheer application in a Sunderland shirt. He owes no favours.

Nor did he “mess Sunderland around” last summer; he just didn’t want to move. He never said he would sign and Gus Poyet should really have stopped asking him.

It matters not whether SAFC was his first or 50th choice (although it is heartening that he turned down a smaller club like West Ham).

He is a professional and his decision to join, or not join any club is a business decision. He will do his utmost on the pitch and even if he would prefer to play for Inter Milan, we can ask for nothing more.

Look, for example, at Swansea City who currently fly high. Do you really think that Fabiański wouldn’t prefer to still be at Arsenal? Or Shelvey still at Liverpool? Montero at Villarreal? Ayew at Marseilles? Sigurðsson at Tottenham, etcetera?

But guess what. It doesn’t matter. If their hearts are elsewhere then it isn’t showing and it will be no different with Borini at Sunderland.

Unusually for Sunderland, they have bought a player we already know has the requisite quality for the Premier League. He is proven. Although not a prolific scorer, he rattled in 10 league and cup goals in 2013-14, a season in which he visibly improved as it progressed.

Those goals included four in the crucial last five games. He was also pivotal in the all too rare achievement of reaching a cup final.

He has returned for £7m to £10m depending on what you read or believe. In a world where Connor Wickham costs £9m, Jozy Altidore £6.5m and Kevin de Bruyne £55m, Sunderland have landed a bargain, particularly considering that Borini is quick, committed, still only 24 and would have cost £14m a year ago.

Despite all this, it isn’t difficult to find comments from the terminally indignant about the “mad” money that Sunderland have paid for him.

There will always be a small but steadfast band of naysayers and fault finders, vomiting negativity onto the pitch (if indeed they actually attend games). They are entitled to their opinions, however loopy.

The rest of us say welcome back to Borini.

All would be forgiven Fabio – if there was anything to forgive.