FABIO BORINI is expected to begin discussing personal terms with Sunderland this weekend after the Black Cats agreed a £14million fee with Liverpool last night.
But no hitches are envisaged towards Borini becoming Sunderland’s joint record signing, with the Italian understood to be eager to return to the Stadium of Light after last season’s successful loan spell.
Sunderland’s pursuit of their main summer target paid dividends yesterday after the Black Cats made a vastly improved offer for the 23-year-old which was accepted by Liverpool.
While Sunderland have so far remained tight-lipped on the speculation, sources on Merseyside have indicated that the Wearsiders have agreed to pay an initial £12m - plus a further £2m in add-ons - matching the club record outlay on Steven Fletcher in the summer of 2012.
Crucially, Borini is thought to favour rejoining Gus Poyet’s side too.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers did have a place for Borini in his plans at Anfield, yet the former Chelsea youngster was expected to be restricted to a bit-part role, despite the £75m sale of fellow frontman Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
The prospect of regular Premier League football on Wearside is understood to have been far more appealing for Borini, who finished Sunderland’s joint top scorer last season with 10 goals.
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet made no secret of his desire to sign Borini permanently towards the end of last season and the Black Cats’ Young Player of the Year has been at the very top of the club’s shopping list throughout the summer.
But Liverpool were only willing to sell if they received a fee in excess of the £10.5m they paid to sign Borini from Serie A outfit Roma two years ago.
With Suarez gone and England internationals Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert both given extra time off for their World Cup commitments, it was expected that Sunderland’s best hope of signing Borini would come in the final throws of the transfer window.
That still looked to be the case earlier this week when Borini started Liverpool’s opening pre-season friendly against Brondby.
But Sunderland have produced a huge statement of intent in matching their record transfer fee, with Borini potentially becoming the club’s fourth signing of the summer if he does agree personal terms.