Borini makes his pre-season bow for AC Milan
Fabio Borini made his much-hyped first appearance for AC Milan last night as the Rossoneri took on Swiss Super League side FC Lugano in a pre-season friendly.
Milan ran out four-goal-to-nil victors but the reaction to the performance of the Sunderland man, who has just moved on loan to the Serie A giants, was a little muted to say the least.
Fabio Borini #11 pic.twitter.com/UGKb2zpkUV— Mondo Milan (@MondoMilan1899) July 11, 2017
Borini was unveiled as Milan's new No. 11 and played 45 minutes out-wide in a 4-3-3. Reaction to his display from the Italian fans we spoke to last night ranged from "underwhelming" to "sh*te!".
The 26-year-old Sunderland forward is beginning a season-long stint in Serie A with a view to a permanent deal next summer.
Italian website Sportface described Borini's performance thus:
Hardly ever involved with his teammates and not much involved in the game. 5.5/10
That rating was the worst awarded to a player in red-and-black on the night. Early days of course, but AC Milan fans are not renowned for their patience.
Milan’s next outing is against Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday followed by a game with Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup - a competition comprising high-profile friendlies which also includes the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Borini departed Sunderland under something of a cloud after a disappointing season which culminated in relegation. The former Liverpool man completed a dismal campaign with just two goals from twenty-four league appearances. Milan will shell out just over £5m for the player next summer should all go well in Italy this season.
Larsson to the Scottish Premiership?
Rumours in Scotland suggest former Sunderland stalwart Sebastian Larsson is in talks with Hibernian over signing for Neil Lennon's newly-promoted SPL side.
EXCLUSIVE: Neil Lennon has had ex-Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson in for informal talks today— Hibernian Fans (@HibernianFans) July 10, 2017
The Black Cats' opponents from Sunday's pre-season friendly are seeking to strengthen upon their return to the top-tier in Scotland and Larsson could be a good addition for a side seeking to establish itself in the SPL.
Lennon is also said to be in pursuit of former Sunderland man Anthony Stokes who was supposedly in the stands at Easter Road to watch his two former clubs play out a two-goals-apiece draw.
After leaving Sunderland in 2009, Stokes kick-started his career at Easter Road. The striker now aged 28 spent last season with Blackburn and was also at Hibs on loan from Celtic in 2015-16.
The gossip on ex-Black Cat Larsson switching Wearside for Leith suggests he is open to a move north of the border but would still prefer a club further south according to Hibs observer Jamie Sinclair.
The 32-year-old's contract at Sunderland expired at the end of the season and reports last week suggested he had not responded to the offer of a new deal.
Larsson spent six years at the Stadium of Light making over 200 appearances and the player and his agent have claimed he has received offers from China, Turkey and England.
Bury forward James Vaughan 'set to sign' for Sunderland
Sunderland are said to be on the verge of landing Bury attacker James Vaughan.
With Simon Grayson presently lacking much in the way of senior strikers at the Stadium of Light, the new Black Cats boss is rumoured to be plotting a raid on last Friday's friendly opponents for the 28-year-old.
James Vaughan could be set to sign for @SunderlandAFC #buryfc #safc— liam smith (@liam_bish_smith) July 11, 2017
Vaughan is a much-travelled seasoned pro having risen through the ranks at Everton as a youngster. After impressing in the reserves at Goodison Park, the 5ft 11in forward broke into the Toffees first team making over 40 appearances before injuries blighted his progress.
Loan spells at Derby County, Leicester and Crystal Palace followed before Vaughan signed for Norwich City in 2011. Further lay-offs then hampered a stint at Huddersfield when Simon Grayson was manager of the Terriers.
Lately, after a disappointing spell with Birmingham City resulted in a zero return in front of goal from sixteen appearances, Vaughan moved onto Bury where he has resurrected his career.
24 strikes in 37 appearances for the Shakers earned him a place in the League One Team of the Year last season as the side Lee Clark joined as manager in February narrowly avoided relegation.
Sunderland will likely need two or three strikers in before the season starts and could certainly do worse.