Former Sunderland Director of Football Roberto De Fanti has been speaking in the Italian media about his client Fabio Borini, and has revealed that he almost left Wearside for Lazio before AC Milan pipped them to the post at last minute.
The man who was dismissed from his post at the Stadium of Light just over four years ago has never quite relinquished his interest in what goes on at Sunderland, particularly since a number of our players in recent years - most notably Borini and recently-departed Vito Mannone - are on his agency books.
And in a conversation yesterday with RMC Sport, De Fanti revealed just how Borini’s move to Italian giants AC Milan panned out during the summer window - suggesting that the player had been set to join up instead with Lazio before il rossoneri came in for him;
The purchase of Borini has gone a bit ‘unnoticed in the summer, I’m glad he’s doing well.
With Montella he has held several roles, but with Gattuso the results have arrived, I would not be surprised if Milan were fighting for (a place in) the Champions League until the end.
We had started a negotiation with Lazio, Fabio had talked with both Tare and Inzaghi. But then Milan presented an unmissable offer and the deal ended in 24 hours.
Curious observers will have noted that De Fanti’s frequent appearances in the Italian media are often calculated ones, and with his client now starting to establish himself as a regular feature in Gennaro Gattuso’s plans, he’ll be keen to talk him up ahead of the coming summer transfer window.
The former Serie A champions have an option to purchase the player upon the culmination of his loan deal, and whilst it’s expected that he’ll eventually become their player on a permanent basis, there were rumours in January that other Italian clubs were keen to nip in and take Borini early and with Milan’s blessing.
De Fanti is a name that needs no explaining to fans of Sunderland, who sat back in amazement as the Italian super-agent overhauled a squad left behind by Martin O’Neill in the summer of 2013.
With Paolo Di Canio at the helm, Sunderland signed a grand total of fourteen players under De Fanti’s rule during that window, an astounding change that the club didn’t seem able to cope with that almost saw us relegated due to our horrendous start.