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Flogging Flops: Italians balk at Borini fee despite cut-price figure; how do Sunderland sell duds?

Serie A club Bologna are thought to be interested in Fabio Borini but may struggle to meet Sunderland's 'fifty-percent off' asking price. Sadly, there are others who may be hard to shift for a decent fee.

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

Reports in Italy yesterday claimed Bologna have Sunderland's Fabio Borini on their shopping list for an attacker this summer. Reports since have claimed the Bolognese may struggle to find the required fee of £6m that Sunderland will demand for the Italian attacker.

And when you think, that's nearly half-price - compared with the amount Sunderland shelled-out for the 26-year-old two years ago - the job of flogging a flop for funds sure looks a frustrating one.

Considering the Serie A side's average spend for those they've paid a fee for in the last three years is just £2m, lashing out three-times that for Borini would be a substantial investment for a club whose transfer record stands at £7m.

Borini has also been linked with a move to Celtic - a team whose largest outlay last season was a mere £3.5m for Scott Sinclair with the Parkhead club's average spend per head just £1.8m in the last three years.

A Celtic transfer record set donkey's years ago - jointly held by the purchases of Chris Sutton and John Hartson at £6m - would have to be matched to land Borini.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League
Fabio Borini playing against Arsenal this week
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Sunderland have a huge summer exodus looming. One that needs managing. Expediting those players who wish to leave, accelerating the exits of those who have no future, and retaining those who still have a use.

But it's minimising losses where the real skill lies. That's shifting players on high wages and selling those who cost a decent wedge to someone who will pay for the privilege - and pay a reasonable sum for footballers who have just been a part of the worst team in the Premier League.

In football - European football certainly - relegation is conclusively considered as failure. And it's a pure sort of failure - generally unsullied by fluke or bad luck.

Because over the course of a nine month season, if you're a player who has been part of one the three poorest teams in the league, you've comprehensively failed. And who wants to buy failures?

That's the position that some of Sunderland's failures - several of whom will believe they are destined for better things - will find themselves in during the coming weeks.

Such is the problem of selling duds to the rest of Europe. If no one in the Premier League will take them, sure as hell no one else is going to pay them a Premier League wage. English football's top-tier is on a whole different planet when it comes to footballer's salaries.

By all accounts Borini is one of several players who were lured to the Stadium of Light with clauses inserted into their contracts with certain favourable exit terms should Sunderland be relegated.

Jermain Defoe is the other notable example - he's off for free; and it is believed Jeremain Lens - currently on loan at Fenerbahce - has a similar deal to Borini. That they could leave on a cheapie if - and when - Sunderland finally succumbed to the drop.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League
Jermain Defoe against Arsenal in his penultimate game for Sunderland
Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Most of these exit clauses were negotiated during the Lee Congerton / Margaret Byrne era at the Stadium of Light.

And whilst David Moyes himself has acknowledged deals were done with the best of intentions - to attract players who might not have come without some favourable terms on their side - it's those in charge when the dreaded day-which-will-never-come finally dawned who must manage it now.

As Moyes himself said last week, with contracts and wages at the club spiraling out of control, someone should have screamed 'stop':

As a club you have to be able to say, ‘No we can’t.’ We have other players with similar things in their contract [to Defoe's].

Perhaps that halt came with Big Sam. But not before damage had been done to the structural make-up of the club's liability to its playing personnel.

A top-ten Premier League wage bill for a bottom-place side, with deals excusing the failed and handing them a sharp cheap exit route. Most of them will take a pay cut in the Championship if they stay of course but Sunderland should have been able to rake in some decent cash for most of them.

At least those hired by Sam Allardyce last January appear to have been subject to a change in policy at the Stadium of Light and there's no suggestion Lamine Kone or Wahbi Khazri can leave on the 'cheap’. However their values have plummeted after disappointing follow-ups to their initial four months at Sunderland in 2016.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League
Lamine Kone & Wahbi Khazri at their peak for Sunderland last season
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Last summer Kone attracted a bid of £17m from Everton, he's now worth some forty-percent less after a dire season. And you can knock a similar value off Khazri's worth - purchased for £9m from Bordeaux, but after a frustrating campaign he might attract £5m or £6m.

Sunderland simply don't possess a Sissoko or Wijnaldum to sell-on for tens of millions this summer. Raking in what scraps we can get looks like being the order of the close season - Jordan Pickford apart.

Borini, Kone, Khazri, Djilobodji, Rodwell, Lens. Not going to fetch much are they? Half price the lot. Some of them may yet end up staying - on half-wages.