SUNDERLAND have held talks with Fabio Borini, although the Liverpool frontman’s future is being held up by his shoulder injury.
It is approaching a fortnight since Sunderland had a £14m bid accepted by Liverpool for former loanee Borini, who returned early to the UK from Liverpool’s pre-season tour of America at the weekend for treatment on a shoulder problem.
Gus Poyet chose his words carefully when asked about Borini here in Portugal last night.
But the Sunderland boss confirmed that the club have now held discussions with Borini himself, and indicated that the Black Cats are still hopeful of signing the 23-year-old.
Poyet said: “He is being assessed now for his shoulder injury. That’s stopped everything a little bit.
“We will see. I have not held talks with him, but the club has, although that’s private.
“We know where we stand.”
While Poyet is maintaining faith that Sunderland can sign Borini, it seems to be the case that the Black Cats’ interest in fellow ex-loanee Marcos Alonso has lessened significantly since the signing of left-back Patrick van Aanholt.
Alonso has been Sunderland’s main target to fill the problematic left-back void throughout the summer, but with Fiorentina holding out for more money for the Spaniard, the Black Cats turned their attentions to ex-Chelsea man van Aanholt.
Sunderland’s focus now is on signing a versatile full-back, rather than another specialist left-back.
“If you asked me before pre-season started, if I wanted two left footed left-backs, I would have said no,” said Poyet.
“Now if Alonso becomes on loan for free then we would probably take him. We need another full-back, the idea is one who can play right and left or with Billy (Jones) covering.”
On van Aanholt, he added: “It’s easy to bring in players who you know personally, and you know what you are going to get.
“Patrick needs to get used to plenty of things that we do, nothing difficult, but he needs to get used to it.
“But I am so happy to have him here.”