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Borini sorry for relegation, intends to return to Italy & a club 'better suited to my personality'

Fabio Borini has broken his silence since Sunderland were relegated and insisted he will return to Italy this summer to a club which suits him better.

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Fabio Borini will depart Sunderland this summer, two years since he signed a permanent deal and nearly four since he first arrived at the Stadium of Light on loan.

Under contract to 2019, the 26-year-old forward is certain to be sold in the coming weeks and has been the subject of transfer gossip linking him with Glasgow Celtic and a host of Serie A Clubs.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Borini in his final appearance for Sunderland at Chelsea last month
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Now in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, Borini has apologised for the Black Cats' relegation and insisted he wishes to return to Italy:

Things in England could be better right now given the recent demotion of which I am very sorry. But you go ahead and I want to prepare for next season to the fullest extent.

The former Liverpool attacker has been linked with AC Milan, Lazio and Bologna and is thought to be free to leave the Stadium of Light for a reduced £6m due to a clause in his contract triggered by relegation.

With suggestions in recent days that there has been no contact between Borini, his representatives and AC Milan, the player who has featured over 80 times in a Sunderland shirt during his two spells on Wearside, appears to have turned his attentions to Lazio.

Indeed the Italian newspaper claims there has already been a meeting between the Rome club's hierarchy and Borini's agent, former Sunderland Director of Football, Roberto De Fanti.

And asked why his career appears to have stalled since leaving Liverpool and switching Merseyside for Wearside, the Italian appears to insist the blame lies with the instability which has dogged Sunderland in the seasons since he signed for the club, or at least is down to him not settling here for the long-term:

At this stage in my career it lacked maybe a little stability and continuity of belonging to a project at a club in the long run.

But with further hints of issues at Sunderland and suggestions that Wearside doesn't quite agree with him, Borini believes that those pursuing him this summer will offer him a more apt berth for next season. Asked where he sees himself ending up, the once-capped Italian international says:

My decision will depend, since as I said in the previous answer, from which club puts up the more stimulating, competitive and stable offer that is better suited to my personality - as a person and as a player.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Premier League
A dejected Fabio Borini at Middlesbrough at the end of the Tees-Wear derby in April
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The 26-year-old Italian had a dreadful season at relegated Sunderland with just two goals in twenty-four appearances in the campaign which ended last month.

Borini was finally signed on a permanent basis when Dick Advocaat was boss at the Stadium of Light two years ago. Following a successful loan spell in 2013/14 the Italian landed for an initial fee of £7.75m rising to £10m with add-ons.

Borini rose through the youth system at Bologna but never made a senior appearance at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara. He was snapped up from Italy by Chelsea a decade ago as a 16-year-old.

Whilst at Chelsea, Borini then had loan spells at Swansea City and Parma before joining Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers first signing in 2012.

Injuries hampered his first year at Anfield but Borini became a fan favourite on Wearside after joining Sunderland on loan in 2013 with some memorable goals including crucial strikes against Newcastle.

Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League
Borini's famous penalty at Newcastle in 2014
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Borini then returned to Liverpool in a bid to establish himself on Merseyside before a lengthy pursuit by Sunderland saw him land back at the Stadium of Light in 2015.

Utilised as a wide man by successive managers, Sam Allardyce and David Moyes, Borini cut an increasingly frustrated figure in a red-and-white shirt this year.

Borini picked up an injury at the start of the campaign and subsequently missed nearly three months of the season under David Moyes.

It's difficult to assess what the abiding memory of Fabio Borini will be once he's gone - Magpie slayer and Wembley goal-scorer, or relegation huffs and half-hearted effort as the club succumbed to the drop in his final days here?

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