clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

As fifth club eye Borini, the lack of a proper bidding war is the true tragedy of his Sunderland end

New, comments

A fleeting terrace hero, the end of Fabio Borini's time on Wearside will not be remembered fondly. The real tragedy though is that despite a host of clubs pursuing him this summer, there will be no bidding war of note for his signature.

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

Fiorentina are the latest Serie A club to be linked with a summer swoop for Fabio Borini. The Florence-based outfit join AC Milan, Lazio and Bologna as the Italian sides credited as keen to land the Sunderland forward.

Add a supposed interest from Glasgow Celtic and the Black Cats really should have been relishing a decent bidding war this summer for one of the few squad members with any real value.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Fabio Borini in his last appearance in a Sunderland shirt
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Forget the miserable end to Fabio Borini's on-pitch career at Sunderland - the hero to zero crash in his former fan favourite image - the real tragedy is that the 26-year-old's legacy at the Stadium of Light will not be a decent cash sum injected into the coffers on his departure.

Because Borini is only worth the value of the clause inserted into his contract enacted upon relegation.

Regardless of what he's worth in reality upon the open market, the former Liverpool man will fetch a maximum of £6m - the figure negotiated to enable a quick getaway if Sunderland were to drop into the Championship during the length of his deal at the Stadium of Light.

Some will argue he isn't even worth that. But approaching the peak years of his career, after largely wasting the period between arriving in England as a promising striker and departing as a utility-winger, Fabio Borini may yet prove himself playing at a level below the Premier League.

In truth, with a minor clamour for his signature from Serie A, Borini will no doubt land at the club willing to pay him the most. He should have been landing at the side willing to pay Sunderland the most. But with that capped exit fee, that's unlikely.

His agitating agent Roberto De Fanti has been prominent this past couple of years in talking up his client's prospects and realistically only the Italian or perhaps Turkish leagues contain sufficient cash to match Borini's wage demands bred from the best part of a decade in English football.

Manchester City v Sunderland - Capital One Final
Borini celebrating his Wembley goal in 2014
Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

That Borini endured a disappointing end to his spell at Sunderland appears not to have put off would-be admirers. The Italian press seem sure that playing in a failing squad, led by an unpopular manager, which wound up relegated, was the likely reason for the paltry two goals in twenty-four appearances last term. The fact he scored just three more in a relatively prolific campaign the year before appears not to have been noted.

Borini's highlights in a Sunderland shirt are historic ones - relative to the dross served up during the past few years. The goals against Newcastle and the strike which provided the lead in a precious forty-five minutes of Capital One Cup final action will cement his place in wistful affections once the memory of his shoulder shrugged, huffing and puffing demeanour from 2017 is misted by time.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Premier League
This image is one which will be recalled as summing up Borini's final days in the Premier League
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It was David Moyes who confirmed the existence of a reduced-fee-on-relegation clause in Borini's deal at the Stadium of Light. In the final weeks' of his desperate tenure, the dour Scot began flailing around in his manic obsession with shifting blame onto anyone he could identify.

Revealing the details of certain player's contracts was unnecessary and demeaning. But Moyes was convinced that whispering secrets to his posse of assorted local journalists would ensure him column inches pointing to the failings of previous regimes. It was nothing but a mask behind which to hide his own inadequacies.

And now a new - still to be appointed - regime will have to pick over the carcass of the recent eras which only knew how to fight fires without building anything of note.

The acquiescence of accepting the assorted relegation clauses insisted on by agents was likely done at the Stadium of Light for the right reasons - to attract players to a club which was an increasingly difficult one to sell to players with Premier League options.

But with the judgement day of relegation now upon us, Sunderland can not even begin an auction to sell a 26-year-old striker to the highest bidder amongst four of the biggest clubs in Italian football as a direct result of that previous lack of foresight.

Worse still, who would have imagined that when he finally signed in 2015 after a twelve month pursuit by successive Sunderland managers, Fabio Borini would be darting for the exit worth at least half of what he should have been by now.