Roberto De Fanti - 'Borini Going Nowhere In January'
Widely touted during the past 24-hours as a target for Serie A clubs, AS Roma and AC Milan, Fabio Borini's agent has dismissed talk of his client making a move in January. The two Italian giants were said to be keen on arranging a loan move in the upcoming transfer window. Borini spent a year at Roma before signing for Liverpool in 2012.
Yesterday, NewsWipe speculated that the 25-year-old's representative, Roberto De Fanti, could likely be agitating on behalf of his client. But, the former Sunderland Director of Football today said that the attacker is concentrating only on making a full return to fitness and aiding David Moyes' side in their latest battle against relegation:
It is natural for a striker who is 25-years-old, who has international experience, to interest many Italian teams. Fabio is very well thought of in Rome, but is now focused on the Premier League and there is no chance he will leave in January.
Though De Fanti was quick to point out that Sunderland's continued precarious state may lead Borini to reassess his options in the summer and he would certainly be one of the first to be sold should David Moyes be unable to maintain his side's Premier League status. The agent also acknowledged that the current financial predicament at the Stadium of Light means anything but a sale would be wholly unlikely:
In June - as for all players - we'll see. I think it would be impossible for a loan with a buy-on option given the importance of the player to Sunderland and the current mentality of the English club which rarely allows such deals.
In truth, it's a relief to have that rumour put to bed quickly. Finally a reason to have a good word to say about Roberto De Fanti.
January Sale Now On - Grab A Bargain
The January sales start earlier every year - indeed on Christmas Eve there were adverts on the telly instructing punters to get down to their nearest sofa-superstore for 9am on Boxing Day.
And Sunderland AFC are no different. The new 'Chief Football Officer' starts work next week. Manchester City man, Simon Wilson, will presumably pack up his Etihad desk tomorrow to make the short trip across the Penines to set his stall at the Academy of Light come Tuesday.
The 38-year-old graduate of 'Football and Science' - a degree he gained at Liverpool John Moores University will take overall charge of scouting, recruitment and youth development - encompassing the academy functions and identifying young talent from around the world.
So whilst its not unusual for a club to set about moving academy-graduates on during the season, the news that at least two of them are actively being touted to new clubs is somewhat more significant given the timing than it would be ordinarily. Andy Welsh remains as Under-23 coach but it is thought that strategic direction and oversight for the younger players at Sunderland will pass to Wilson.
NewsWipe reported in November that young midfielder, George Honeyman, was interesting Derby County amongst other Championship clubs. It is believed that the 22-year-old has actively sought a January move to progress his career and that other second-tier clubs have been alerted to his availability.
Honeyman has been an unused substitute for the first team on five occasions this season, most recently at Old Trafford on Boxing Day; but he has yet to make his bow for the senior side onto the field of play. The Prudhoe-born player's academy deal will expire in the summer. So, it’s likely that both parties - the player and the club - have agreed now is a good time for him to move on. He is unlikely to attract a fee however.
And this morning, the Sunderland Echo reported that Barnsley and Hibernian have been tracking left-back, Tom Robson. The 21-year-old who captains the Under-23 side is, technically, the only other viable left-back at the club behind Patrick van Aanholt - though loanee Javier Manquillo can operate on either side despite being predominantly right-footed. That said, the Spaniard's 'versatility' is only hailed by virtue of his appearances in Ligue 1 for Marseille last season on the left-hand side. He is unproven in the Premier League on that flank having never turned out for Liverpool - and of course Sunderland - at left-back.
The Echo article suggests Robson is heading up to Edinburgh to train with Hibs ahead of a move - either permanently or as part of a loan deal. Whether any fee could be prized from the Scots is doubtful.
There's always a tinge when academy prospects are set to move on having not broken through into the first team - but are Sunderland 'giving up' on Robson and Honeyman too quickly considering the state of David Moyes' squad? Or is a loan or permanent move the best option at this stage of their careers?