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Grazie per i ricordi: Fabio Borini leaves Sunderland to join Italian giants AC Milan

According to Sky Sports, Fabio Borini has officially left Sunderland. Leaving behind some good memories but in part tarnished forever by his showings in the recently completed relegation campaign.

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

According to Sky Sports, Fabio Borini has joined Serie A side AC Milan in a deal which could eventually be worth £5.3 million ending a spell with Sunderland encompassing two stints and over 80 games.

The Italian has struggled for form at Sunderland since his 2015 signing from Liverpool. With his value halved since that £10m move from Anfield, there have been suggestions the 26-year-old was able to leave for a reduced fee upon the Black Cats' relegation from the Premier League.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Fabio Borini's last appearance for Sunderland - against Chelsea on the last day of the season
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Milan were one of the sides rumoured to have shown interest in Borini during the January transfer window but Sunderland hung on to the Italian hopeful he could be one who could aid an escape from the growing threat of relegation. (That worked out then.)

Borini becomes the second high-profile departure from the club after Jordan Pickford's £30 million move to Everton but few will wish the forward a heartfelt farewell save some now fading memories.

The reaction to Borini's exit has been of some shock both on social media and in the national press at him securing yet another move to a big club particularly after his recent form. The 26-year-old's CV now includes stints at Chelsea, Liverpool, Roma and AC Milan. Impressive for a forward who only has 36 goals in 166 career club appearances.

Borini's Sunderland time began on loan from parent club Liverpool in 2013. He managed 7 goals during his first spell, the first of which was a glorious finish to beat Newcastle 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. That goal granted him mass approval from the fans and then manager, Gus Poyet and set him on a fleeting road to terrace adulation.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Premier League
Borini celebrates scoring at St James Park in October 2013
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The forward also scored two crucial goals in the Capital One cup on the way to Sunderland's 2014 Wembley appearance. A late equaliser against Chelsea in the 5th Round sent the game to extra time to set up a thrilling finale with Ki Sung-yeung hitting an 88th minute winner.

Borini capped that with a penalty in the first leg of the semi-finals against Moyes' Manchester United to ensure a 2-1 lead heading for Old Trafford from which Sunderland emerged victorious after a penalty shoot-out.

The Italian's initial season on loan at Sunderland was capped with a "Young Player of the Year" award before he returned to Liverpool to fight for his place on Merseyside - a campaign which ultimately saw him do little other than warm the Anfield bench.

Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League
There were some good times
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Injuries played parts in Borini's frustrations on Wearside, - none more so than the season just ended when he only managed 24 league appearances after a three month lay-off.

But just two goals on his return coupled with a dreadful contribution to the team and a disturbingly petulant disinterested attitude enraged Sunderland supporters as their team gave up the ghost and limped to relegation.

The Italian's rise and fall at the Stadium of Light in part mirrors the failings of the wider club he was part of this past few years. But it's also reasonable to conclude that Fabio Borini just wasn't cut out for the Premier League after failings at a top club like Liverpool were followed by even worse at Sunderland.

Either through injuries, manager changes or his own bad decisions, something happened to the young man who was once so highly thought of when he rose through the ranks via Chelsea and Liverpool and arrived at Sunderland with such high hopes. But he now leaves the club, probably a year too late, with a forever tarnished reputation - sadly, he won't be the last.