Gus Poyet has admitted that he is desperate to sign Liverpool’s Fabio Borini.
The Sunderland manager has been on the trail of Borini for much of the summer so far, but he is struggling to convince the Italian attacker to join the Stadium of Light.
Borini spent last season on loan on Wearside and Poyet says that he is still confident that a deal can be done to bring him back on a permanent basis, but he hopes that it happens soon.
"It’s still ongoing,” Poyet said.
“I’m desperate [for it to happen] but it’s still ongoing. It’s important.
“Fabio, for us, is important and I will tell you why.
“You can always go and spend some millions on a player, but when you know the player the way I know Fabio, how professional he is, how much he cares, the positions in which he can play, and what he brings to the team and to the group...
“He has plenty of things that I really, really like. He’s professional and I think he would be fantastic for the group as well, not just because he scores goals.
“He’s a key player, which is why the [fee] agreement with Liverpool is quite a big one.
“We’ll see. I’m still hoping it is going to happen, but we need to wait and see.”
Liverpool and Sunderland reportedly agreed a £14 million fee for the attacker earlier in the transfer window, but Borini’s reluctance to leave Anfield has blocked any deal so far.
The 23-year-old is convinced that he can force his way into starting contention at his current club and has been trying to get Brendan Rodgers to give him a chance all summer so far.
Borini’s cause was boosted by the departure of Luis Suarez last month, but it still seems unlikely that he has a future at Liverpool following the Reds’ additions already this summer and because they still plan on bringing more attacking talent to the club in the near future.
As such he may be better served pursuing a move to Sunderland where he will be given a hero’s welcome after the role he played in their successful surivival bid last campaign.
Poyet’s side narrowly avoided the drop out of the Premier League and that owed much to Borini – who scored seven times in his 32 appearances for the club.
If the deal does go through, as Poyet hopes, the Uruguayan will be hoping for a repeat tally from the former Parma man this season as Sunderland look to push on and avoid such a nervy finish this time around.