Sunderland manager Gus Poyet says he would have done the same if he were in Fabio Borini’s shoes after the Italian striker opted to stay at Liverpool over a permanent move to the Stadium of Light.
Having returned from a season-long loan in the North East, Borini was embroiled a transfer saga over the summer, with Liverpool accepting bids from both Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers for the sale of the 23-year-old.
But Borini rejected both club’s offers, opting to stay and fight for his place at Liverpool.
Poyet revealed a deeper reasoning behind Borini’s decision to turn Sunderland down.
“Fabio was aiming to play in Europe and his aim was Liverpool first, and then any team playing in Europe next,” he is quoted in the Daily Mirror on Friday as saying.
“I understand his point of view. I can put myself in his point of view and I would like to be honest and say maybe I would have done the same if I was him.
“He is a Liverpool player who played for Roma before they bought him for a lot of money. It didn’t work at Liverpool for whatever reason, he got an injury, and he decided to come to Sunderland last season on loan after we lost at Crystal Palace and were bottom of the League with one point.
“He had the big cojones that you have to have to come to a club in that position. He came, he put himself about, and he loved every single minute here. But he thought, ‘I can play in Europe now.’ I think that is fair and understandable.
“In the end, he couldn’t (get that move) and I think we both feel a little, ‘Hmmmm, maybe that was not the right way to do it.'”
Borini may be called upon imminently for Liverpool following a thigh injury to forward Daniel Sturridge, which will keep the England international out for around three weeks.
With Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert the club’s only other two recognised strikers, Borini may well get his chance to prove his worth to Brendan Rodgers and the club.