Gus Poyet is desperate to keep hold of on-loan Liverpool man Fabio Borini and he can't even be bothered trying to hide it anymore.
The forward has been one consistent bright spot in a sea of inconsistency this season and, unlike fellow loanee Ki Sung-Yueng, it has largely been assumed that he will be beyond Sunderland's reach come the summer. Poyet hinted that he wants to explore the possibility of keeping Borini last week, but now he has just decided to lay his cards on the table.
He told reporters:
Buying him from Liverpool would be fantastic but I don't know if it's going to be possible. It's out of our hands but we like him a lot and we will try. People will say the price is going up but he's an important player; he's been great.
He is beginning to show what a good player he is by scoring special goals at special times and we want that to continue.
In the beginning it was me. I put my hands up. It was my fault Fabio was not playing. Now, if he's not the first one you pick, he'll be the next one.
The good thing with Fabio is he has become a hero, he has really got into the club, the fans. He's a top professional. He's always on time. He's always trying to be better in training. He's that type of person, he's always looking after what he's eating or what he's not eating.
In a way, you almost want Poyet to stop talking about this one. There is just too much up in the air to even consider opening your mind to the possibility of Borini staying right now. IF we stay up, IF Liverpool want to sell him, IF we can afford him, IF he doesn't have better offers... it's just impossible to get your bearings on this one at the moment.
I don't think there is any question that he would be a success here of he did sign on a permanent deal. There are some players who are capable of tapping into the passion for football in the north east whilst continually refueling it themselves. Borini, with his immense work-ethic and ability to produce the big moments, is one of those players.
I think he is the kind who needs to be a star somewhere too rather than a bit-part player at a huge club. He seems that character. I guess that is the case for most strikers, really. They tend to need more love than the rest.
Still refusing to get my hopes up over this one, but I suppose it's at least nice that Poyet is in such an evidently positive mood.