Fabio Borini has been at the centre of one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas that this summer has seen, but the situation must come to a head within the following five days as the transfer window draws to a close. The current Liverpool player seems to have 3 choices laid out before him; he can either stick at Liverpool and work his way into Brendan Rodgers’ plans, move to Sunderland where he garnered a reputation for himself last season, or switch to AC Milan and return back to Italy. Of those three options, which is the best idea for Borini?
The 23 year old has been on the Anfield books for the past 2 seasons, although he only featured in the Reds’ senior squad during the 2012/13 campaign. He arrived as one of Brendan Rodgers’ first major transfers at the club, costing close to £11 million. Interestingly, it is believed that Liverpool’s new signing Mario Balotelli was influential in persuading Borini to join the Reds.
Injury plagued Borini’s opening campaign though, and he would end the season having played just 13 times in the Premier League, and having scored just once. Given his poor record at Liverpool and the emergence of attacking midfielders in abundance at the club, the way looks exceptionally blocked between Borini and a place in the current starting XI.
However, that is not to say that the player couldn’t feature in the Liverpool side this season, especially as they will be entering into the Champions League this year. Rodgers has been calling for ‘strength in depth’ all summer, and by keeping Borini he would appear to be establishing that. The Italian could feature alongside Rickie Lambert as alternative options in the Anfield attack.
Last season saw Borini leave Liverpool as part of a season-long loan, and represent Sunderland instead. In general, the move was a resounding success. Borini enjoyed a particularly effective first half of the season, as his goals proved crucial in helping the Black Cats to avoid relegation last year.
There have been reports linking Borini with a permanent move to the Stadium of Light all summer, with Gus Poyet apparently tabling a £14 million offer. The bid has been deliberated over for weeks now by the player and his representatives, however, as Borini looks to be awaiting a more attractive prospect elsewhere.
In truth, though a ‘bigger’ club might come in for Borini, it is unlikely that the player will achieve a comparable reputation anywhere else as the one he had carved out in the North East. With 7 goals and plenty of assists in 32 appearances for Poyet, Borini proved himself as one of the club’s best players. A nearly man at Liverpool, he could be the main event for Sunderland.
The San Siro represents exactly the type of big offer that Borini might have been waiting all summer for. Now that the Italian giants have parted company with Mario Balotelli, there is a vacated spot in their frontline that could provide Borini with his big chance.
A return to his homeland, it is perhaps not difficult to see why the player might prefer a switch to Milan in some ways. However, the move could turn out to be a mistake for the Liverpool man, and one from which it would be very difficult to rebuild his career. Should Borini move to Italy and perform below par, then he might never be given the opportunity to play in other European leagues again.
Milan need a prolific goal-scorer, and Borini has not proven himself as that. In the wake of Balotelli’s exit, they could probably also do with a major character and off-field personality to boost the club’s profile – Borini is not that either. For all the positive aspects of a move to Milan, there are negative things as well. The risk is far greater, and the rewards might not be worth it.
Overall, a move to Sunderland represents the greatest opportunity for Borini to receive regular game-time, and regular opportunities to increase his profile. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to stay at Liverpool, but only if he is able to claw above Lambert at least on Rodgers’ pecking order. As for a move to Milan, there are more negatives than positives – Borini’s homecoming should be delayed until later in his career.