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SAFC TransferWipe: Fabio Borini Linked With A Return To Italy; But Is It The Same Old Source?

Sunderland attacker, Fabio Borini, is being linked with a return to Italy, but the origin of the rumour appears to be exactly the same source as yesterday's Vito Mannone stories. And they looked rather familiar.

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

According to various reports in Italy, Sunderland's Fabio Borini is wanted by AS Roma and AC Milan in the upcoming January transfer window.

The reports claim both Italian clubs are keen on the idea of a loan move with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer - bizarrely considering Sunderland's well-publicised financial situation and considerable injury problems.

Southampton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

The 25-year-old missed a chunk of this campaign through injury and has only made his return in recent weeks. Borini hurt his thigh in the early-season draw at Southampton and was absent for three months.

However, after a initially subdued return since making his way back into the squad earlier this month, Borini appeared to stamp his comeback in style at Old Trafford on Boxing Day with a sublime consolation strike as Sunderland were defeated 3-1.

As David Moyes' squad has been utterly devoid of goal-scoring options all season - only Jermain Defoe, Patrick van Aanholt and Victor Anichebe had appeared on the score sheet this campaign prior to Borini's strike - the Italian's emergence as an attacking option will be most welcome to the Sunderland boss.

Indeed, immediately prior to Borini's return in mid-December, the Sunderland squad had lost Duncan Watmore for the season and the former-Liverpool man remains the most natural option to line-up on the right-hand side of David Moyes' attack in his place.

Borini has been a Sunderland-owned player since the summer of 2015, signed permanently by Dick Advocaat after a previous successful loan spell during 2013/14, and he has made 63 appearances, scoring 13 goals - most famously against Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The main problem with this rumour - it appears to originate from Sky Italia. Regular observers of transfer gossip will recall previous attempts originating from their England-based reporter, Gianluca Di Marzio.

Di Marzio has history with Sunderland's Italian pair of Borini and Vito Mannone in his tittle-tattle columns. Certainly it appears to again be the Sky man at the root of this one.

Indeed, it was only yesterday that we bemoaned the influence of Di Marzio and his long-time peer - former Sunderland Director of Football, Roberto De Fanti, in publishing apparently spurious transfer links at key moments prior to, and during, transfer windows which feature the Italian contingent at the Stadium of Light.

And who was representing Fabio Borini the last time there was any transfer gossip to report on him - agent Roberto De Fanti of course. You have been warned.