While I love covering transfer rumors as much as the next guy, as the years have rolled by I’ve taken a greater delight in concocting my own. That’s not to say I pull them haphazardly out of my ass, but rather, in the case of my pleas for Shkodran Mustafi and, as of late, Riccardo Saponara, they’re borne simply out of matching Roma’s needs with potentially available players; I know, genius, right?
Sometimes they’re former stars looking for a last shot at glory, while others are post-hype prospects seeking a new home, but whatever the case may be, they’re usually just figments of my imagination.
I mention this simply because, as recently as last week, I was toying with connecting the dots between Fabio Borini and Roma, and now here we are, the rumor has taken flight in reality. Borini, you may recall, enjoyed the best football of his up and down career with Luis Enrique and the Giallorossi during the 2011-2012 season when he scored nine goals in two dozen appearances.
Borini’s success was not lost on the prying eyes of Liverpool, who were more than willing to fork over €13.3 million for the then 21-year-old forward. However, with only two goals during his Liverpool career, Borini marked the second occasion on which Roma bilked Liverpool on the transfer market. After flopping at the Kop, Borini has spent the past few seasons with Sunderland, for whom he has bagged six league goals in 31 appearances.
Pretty bleak return for a kid who, along with Mattia Destro and Ciro Immobile, was supposed to usher in the next great age of Italian strikers. Now 25-years-old, Borini stands at a crossroads: continue on this same path, bouncing between midtable English clubs, or return home and try to make a name for yourself.
And, based on recent comments from his agent, Borini may do just that.
It’s normal that a 25-year-old Italian striker, with international experience, is of interest to many Italian teams...Fabio was really happy at Roma, but now he’s just focused on Sunderland and there’s no way he’ll leave in January. In June we’ll see, as it is for every player.
Granted, that’s not an outright admission of anything in particular, but it’s dead-on agent speak for “get my client the hell out of here.” Borini is young enough to come good, earning himself and his agent a nice payday in the process, so a return to the source of his greatest success makes perfect sense.
And, hey, wouldn’t you know it, Roma needs a reliable backup for Edin Dzeko. With Tonny Sanabria gone for good and with Ezequiel Ponce struggling in La Liga, Borini might fit the bill—a young, athletic and domestically experienced forward who can play multiple positions along the frontline and give Luciano Spalletti 15-20 appearances across all competitions.
While Borini isn’t likely to move next month, he could be a cheap (€6 to €8 million) and athletic addition to Roma’s frontline, one with a fair amount of upside, at least enough to be a serviceable rotation player.
Borini’s days as a future star are likely done and dusted, but a return to Italy could make him a potent addition to Roma’s attack.