Sunderland manager Gus Poyet says Fabio Borini’s desire to return to the north east is not in question, despite a deal for the Liverpool striker dragging over several weeks.
Borini spent last season on loan at Sunderland, scoring seven goals in 32 league games to help secure their Premier League status, and the Black Cats boss has reiterated his longing to seal his signature on a permanent basis.
Both sides have agreed on a £14 million fee, but the efforts to bring Borini back to the Stadium of Light have been met with frustration so far, with the Italian stalling on an approach last month to join his current club on their pre-season tour of the USA.
However, Poyet claims that the delay has nothing to do with the 23-year-old being reluctant to leave Anfield, maintaining that the former Chelsea frontman is eager to complete a permanent switch.
‘I cannot tell you everything because it's not fair on anybody,’ he told reporters. ‘But it's not like Borini doesn't want to come and we're trying to convince him.
‘I talked to Fabio and that is not the case. It's about doing it at the right time.
‘He's come back to fitness and training with the team. So he wouldn't be fit for tomorrow anyway. So calm, please!’
Poyet, however, also admitted to growing increasingly frustrated with developments and, with another potential target already lined up, confessed that there may come a point when he club has to move on and look elsewhere.
‘I'm just not trying to put a deadline on it,’ he added. ‘We need a player in that position and we are ready to move on and have an option.
‘But of course, what happens if you move on and he's still available? It's a tricky situation. But it's impossible for me to say Monday, Wednesday or the 31st [of August].’
Should Sunderland move on from Borini?