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SAFC NewsWipe: Borini boosts Roma hopes & Pickford nears return, but will Mannone be sold?

In this evening's NewsWipe - Fabio Borini has set Roman hearts a flutter by spending his weekend with AS Roma fans. And, with the news Jordan Pickford is nearing a return to fitness, quicker than was originally hoped, does that add weight to the latest Vito Mannone transfer links?

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

Fabio Borini - He Loves Roma Fans

Sunderland attacker, Fabio Borini, has been linked with moves back to his native Italy ever since he arrived in England. But, now on his fourth Sunderland manager during his second and permanent spell at the Stadium of Light, the former Liverpool man has been the subject of more gossip than ever on his future.

A few weeks ago Borini was said to be a target for AC Milan and AS Roma who were rumoured to want to take him on loan with a view to a permanent deal in the summer. That gossip was swiftly curtailed when his agent, and frequent advocate, Roberto De Fanti said any move in January would be "impossible".

The ex-Sunderland Director of Football claimed the precarious league position in which his former club finds itself, coupled with its dire financial situation, means David Moyes can ill-afford to lose one of his 'star' men mid-season and that a loan deal would be out of the question for a club which needs to generate income before it can buy.

But, Borini has set Roman hearts aflutter with the news that he spent his weekend in the company of fans of his former club as they took on Genoa in a Serie A fixture.

Roma are still in the market for a winger - might we not have seen the last of the Borini-to-Italy transfer links just yet?

Sunderland v Burnley - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
"Agh, not this transfer window nonsense again!"
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jordan Pickford - Ahead of Schedule?

David Moyes says Jordan Pickford may be nearer a return to full fitness quicker than he originally thought. The young goalkeeper was injured in an accidental clash with his own defender at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

Pickford's injury was originally thought to rule him out of action for somewhere in the region of eight weeks - meaning he would have been likely to miss crucial fixtures throughout January and February with a possible March return date.

But, in quotes featured in today's Daily Mirror, the Sunderland boss says he is hopeful of welcoming the England 'keeper back earlier than he thought:

We don't think certainly it'll be eight weeks, we think it's closer to being six if anything at the moment.

He feels good but that can only be tested once he's back at it.

And in other significant news, Moyes has reiterated that he does not expect Jordan Pickford to be sold this month:

I've got no interest in selling Jordan at the moment. He's too good, he's a big asset for this club - a really big asset.

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

So, Will Vito Mannone Be Sold?

The news that Jordan Pickford could be back in first team contention by the end of the month gives additional weight to the latest round of Vito Mannone transfer rumours.

The Italian goalkeeper, now reinstalled as Sunderland's number one as a result of Pickford's lay-off, has been widely linked with a move to Genoa in recent days. It was La Gazetta dello Sport who led with the most recent gossip and added the Rossoblu to a list of would-be suitors that already, supposedly, included fellow Serie A side, Palermo.

Indeed over the course of the weekend, Mannone himself did not rule out a move away from the Stadium of Light in January. He told Italian website TMW:

Yes there is interest from other clubs for January, but we will see what will happen.

With David Moyes having the luxury of three senior goalkeepers at a club which is maxed-out on its available wage expenditure as a result of Financial Fair Play regulations, would he be tempted to let Mannone leave in January? The answer may lie in the progress Pickford makes in his quest to return to full fitness.