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As De Fanti launches a fresh commentary, one of his signings washes up in Swiss second tier

Pre, during, and post-transfer windows just wouldn't be the same without a Roberto De Fanti commentary on the futures of Fabio Borini and Vito Mannone, and the January window that has just closed was no exception. But whilst the former Director of Football ponders the futures of Sunderland players, one of the men he signed in that infamous signing spree three-and-a-half years ago has had a torrid time of it since he landed here in the 'De Fanti summer'.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Barclays Asia Trophy: Semi Final Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Our former Director of Football Roberto De Fanti has been continuing his commentary on all things Italian at Sunderland.

The man who was dismissed from his post at the Stadium of Light just over three years ago has never quite relinquished his interest in what goes on at Sunderland, retaining as he does a stake in the fortunes of both Fabio Borini and Vito Mannone.

De Fanti - who returned to his role as football agent after his failed stint as Director of Football - represents both Italians at Sunderland, and no transfer window passes without a Roberto-commentary on their futures.

In an interview with an Italian website, De Fanti confirmed that there had been interest from Serie A for both Borini and Mannone in the January window. The agent, who also negotiated the deal which took Manolo Gabbiadini to Southampton on deadline day, said of the two Sunderland players:

Vito and Fabio are happy to play in the Premier League. We often forget that Vito and Fabio have played their entire career in the Premier League, except for one year with Fabio in Rome.

Italy, however, always remains home and after a while you more and more want to go back. There was something with some top Italian clubs but there were not the right conditions. We will see this summer.

There were rumours throughout the transfer window linking both players with a return 'home' to Italy. Borini was linked with AS Roma and AC Milan whilst Mannone was said to be wanted by Palermo. In the end, a quiet transfer window at the Stadium of Light has ended with both men retained by David Moyes.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Relegation would of course force the issue for both players - as it would many others on the books at Sunderland. Fabio Borini is one of the highest paid players at the club and would have plenty of offers to head elsewhere. Vito Mannone would also have his suitors here and in Italy and he was said to be a target for Aston Villa at one point in the run up to the transfer window just gone.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

But, De Fanti's influence continues to be felt on Wearside long after he departed. His involvement in the Gabbiadini transfer may also explain why Sunderland were tagged on as a supposed interested party towards the end of the window and at one point were said to be poised to hijack the striker's move to Southampton.

For now, it seems neither Borini or Mannone ever actually got close to leaving Sunderland recently. Italian journalist and 'transfer guru', Emanuele Giulanelli, told Roker Report on deadline day:

I think Borini will remain at Sunderland until the summer and Mannone is always considered well in Italy.

Meanwhile, one of the players De Fanti signed whilst he was in tenure at the Stadium of Light has found himself a new club after being released from the side he joined upon having his contract cancelled at Sunderland.

AS Livorno Calcio v Genoa CFC - Serie A
Cabral (left) during his loan spell at Genoa in 2014
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Many fans recall Cabral more for an off-field incident and his notoriety as representing the ‘De Fanti summer' of 2013, than anything he achieved on the pitch at Sunderland. He only ever made one appearance in the Premier League, though he was an unused substitute on eight further occasions in his one active season in English football.

The player, now aged 28, has not played a competitive match since last May. Cabral joined FC Zurich after his deal with Sunderland was terminated by mutual consent in February 2015 but he quickly became a forgotten man even in his home country.

There were some suggestions around the time he was cleared of rape at Hull Crown Court that Zurich had been unaware he had even been charged with the offence. Perhaps that forced the issue and led to him not being picked by the Swiss outfit.

Cabral's contract with Zurich was also cancelled - in December - but now the midfielder has been picked up by another Swiss second-tier outfit, FC Le Mont, and the player has been given a chance to impress until the end of the season.

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