Fabio Borini has completed a permanent switch to Sunderland after the Black Cats’ dogged pursuit finally paid dividends.
The 24-year-old Italian, who spent the 2013-14 season on loan at the Stadium of Light, severed his links with Liverpool when he signed a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee understood to be £8million with a further £2m in add-ons.
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) August 31, 2015
Borini’s capture was confirmed by Sunderland on Monday afternoon in a statement which said: “Sunderland are delighted to announce the signing of Fabio Borini from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.
“The 24-year-old has signed a four-year deal at the Stadium of Light and returns to the club following a successful loan spell during the 2013-14 season, during which he became a fan favourite with 10 goals including strikes against Newcastle United, Chelsea and at Wembley during the Capital One Cup final.”
The news will come as a boost to head coach Dick Advocaat, who has spent much of the last few weeks bemoaning the lack of quality in his squad and urging owner Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton to resolve that issue.
Advocaat said: “Fabio is a great addition to the squad who will make our front line stronger. He can play in a number of attacking positions which is a huge benefit to the team.”
Borini joins Jeremain Lens, Yann M’Vila and loan signing Ola Toivonen on the list of summer newcomers, and Advocaat will hope he can make a similar impact to the one he made during his previous spell on Wearside.
The former Chelsea, Parma and Roma frontman established himself in the affections of the Sunderland fans and scored the goal which stunned Manchester City at Wembley before they fought back to secure a 3-1 victory.
Then manager Gus Poyet tried desperately to persuade him his long-term future lay in the North East, but Borini chose to stay and fight for a place at Anfield, ultimately with limited success.
Sunderland turned their attention back to him after England international Adam Johnson was ruled out for up to eight weeks with a shoulder injury earlier this month, although some supporters were unhappy with his original reluctance to join the club.
However, the player, who has also been targeted by Fiorentina, Inter Milan and Watford, said: “I am delighted to be back at Sunderland. It is a club I know really well from my time here previously.
“It will be emotional for me to play at the Stadium of Light again and I can’t wait to get back on the pitch as a Sunderland player.”
There was delight too from Congerton, who helped to take Borini to Chelsea almost a decade ago during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Congerton said: “Fabio is a player who I’ve known since he was 15 years old and I was fortunate enough to help recruit him at Chelsea.
“He has developed into a Premier League striker, which we have already seen from his previous loan spell at the club. We are delighted to have him here on a permanent basis.”
Borini will wear the number nine shirt and could make his debut at home against Tottenham on September 13.