Wearied by the Borini saga, wondering whether we’re better off

We’ve gone three PL games without any forward scoring so it looks like the front line failings we’ve experienced for at least two seasons are destined to continue. Jozy will score one day but Fletch looks like he’s playing the wrong system and Wickham’s playing the wrong position.

John McCormick:
John McCormick: looking at what’s afoot

Even so, I’m not too bothered that Borini didn’t come. I’d have been happy if he had arrived but I believe he’d have been here early in the window had his heart been in it, despite what Gus said a while ago, and a reputed £14 million is a lot to pay if it isn’t.

So it’s not Borini’s failure to move that disappoints me, it’s that with that amount available we didn’t manage to sign any out-and-out goalscorer who can fit into the Gus style. Was Gus naive in not moving on earlier? Maybe we’ll get someone in January? Who knows? If all else fails we’ve still got Danny Graham.

I’m also disappointed Alfie didn’t stay; I thought he was raw but had potential. However, what do I know about football? I have to trust in Gus, accept he knows what he’s doing  and that he’s bought well (and big) in the midfield department. He’s also brought in a couple of defenders, so the signs so far aren’t all bad, are they?

Does that mean we’ve strengthened the squad? Including Alfie, Roberge and Moberg-Karlsson, who hardly featured since signing for us, we’ve shipped out fourteen players while we’ve shipped in only eight, plus one promotion from the ranks, so, even ignoring our non-scoring front line, it’s a moot point.

Have a look at the list below, which doesn’t include Alfie or Moberg-Karlsson (chuck them in if you want) or Vergini of the revolving door, and let us know what you think. I’ve not included any names, so all you have to go on are my idiosyncratic descriptions of their records. That should be enough for anyone to go on, it’s not rocket science to work out who is who:



A not-bad keeper who represented his country,  but lost his club place due to injuries. Once out he was never able to regain the first-team slot. Helped us to avoid relegation in 2013 A 27 year old big bloke who has played for his country, in European competition and at Wembley. He has not had to worry about relegation
And a temporary replacement for him (as stand-in) who did OK on the few chances he had. And a home-grown youngster who has represented his country at junior levels and who has been sent out on loan to aid his development
A 29 yr old whole-hearted, no nonsense defender with a couple of caps for Scotland and some crucial goals who helped us avoid relegation in 2013 and 2014. A 27 year old no-nonsense defender who rarely scores (but did so against NUFC) and who made 10 appearances for a club that managed to avoid relegation in 2014.
A 32 year old on-loan defender who never made it back after being sent off last season A 23 year old defender who played abroad while on Chelsea’s books and just missed out on a World Cup place with his country.
A 27 year old defender who played 10 premiership games as we avoided relegation last season but hasn’t looked up to it recently and has gone out on loan. An on-loan, nearly-as-big-as-Pantilimon, 24 year old defender from Uruguay who made 24 appearances and scored twice for Liverpool but never really got a grip on the Premier League, despite being good enough to play for his country.
A 27 year old whole-hearted, cup final substitute, no nonsense midfielder with a great penalty record and a couple of other goals who helped us to avoid relegation in 2013 and 2014. A 29 year old cup-winning (but substituted) midfielder with a few goals to his name who didn’t manage to avoid relegation in 2013
A locally-grown 25 year old whole-hearted player who steadily gained confidence as a midfielder without ever being really inspiring and who eventually scored a few goals as we narrowly avoided relegation in 2013 and 2014. A 23 year old possibly injury-prone midfielder who made his debut for Everton at the age of 16. He has since played about 100 PL games for  them and Man City, where he didn’t quite make it, as well as representing his country, and scored for us on his debut
A 25 year old on-loan midfielder who played in two world cups and two Wembley finals and who helped us to avoid relegation in 2014 An on-loan, 26 year old Argentinian midfielder who was in the World cup squad and who has over 90 games for inter Milan under his belt
A hard-working 33 year old midfield utility player signed as a free agent and allowed to leave as his contract expired. He played a part in helping us avoid relegation in 2013 and also in 2014, albeit in a  lesser role

Carlos Cuella, as adapted by Jake, didn't do a bad job
Carlos Cuellar, as adapted by Jake, didn’t do a bad job
A hard-working 31 year old midfield player signed as a free agent. He played a part in helping us avoid relegation in 2013 and scored a cracker against the Mags but spent a lot of this season out on loan
A South American forward who came late and left early without anyone being bothered either way A 24 year old winger who has made a success of playing in the lower leagues and who was signed by Gus while at Brighton

A 23 year old Italian forward who has represented his country and scored at Wembley, and whose goals helped us avoid relegation in 2014.

Jake's take on last season's Young Player of the Year, this season's yesterday man
Jake’s take on last season’s Young Player of the Year, this season’s yesterday man



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11 thoughts on “Wearied by the Borini saga, wondering whether we’re better off”

  1. Yeah Malcolm, I know what you mean about optimism v realism. Even in the darkest days of Altidore’s displays last season I kept having the feeling that he was going to score in an important game and that he’d be magically transformed as a result.

    It didn’t happen of course and sad to say that it probably never will now. Had he not been injured during the WC it’s a fair bet that he would have been sold by now, or at least moved on temporarily. He’s just not good enough for this league.

    If Fletcher can find the net and get going then that might well be a different story. Sometimes an injury can have an imperceptible impact on a player’s ability, and they are never the same again. I hope that isn’t the case with SF but he’s not match sharp at the moment. Let’s hope that’s all it is because when he was firing on all cylinders he was as clinical as anyone most of us have seen in red and white.

  2. PS I’m still wondering what GP meant when he said “people are going to be surprised” at the events at the end of the window.

    Maybe he’s going to play Coates up front next game?

    • Could mean we’re signing an out of contract player after the window shuts , hopefully . I remember we signed Zenden after the window had shut , a forward of equal standing would be most welcome .

  3. He’s not Riva or Baggio is he William? The biggest concern that I have is that we are now even worse off than in the January window when we were desperate for reinforcements up front. Scocco came and went without troubling the scorers as they say in cricket and we lost Borini at the end of the season.

    We arguably needed 2 strikers some eight months ago, and need to peddle the likes of Graham and Altidore (and I don’t share Malcolm’s optimism about the floodgates where JA is concerned).

    Two transfer windows and we are worse off up front than we were to begin with. Poyet is starting to remind me of the Roy Kinnear skinhead character that used to appear with Dick Emery back in the day. “I got it wrong again Dad!”

    • I’m not sure I share my optimism about JA’s potential to become a goalscoring machine either Jeremy. It’s more a hope than a prediction (and I did say if) but I see a big, powerful player full of running who currently tenses up when in front of goal.

      Maybe, if he can find the net a couple of times and releases the pressure, he will relax and show a bit more composure.

      Fletcher is lacking sharpness but we know what he is capable of assuming his injuries haven’t had a long term marginal effect on his pace.

      Wickham finally showed his ability when we needed it most. I hope he has realised that he needs to work to be a success and keeps up the improvement.

      I now feel we have players in midfield who will chip in regularly so I actually think we are better off than we were last January.

      We know Borini would have fitted into the squad and added to it but in my view Coates could prove to be a more important signing as we are lacking in numbers in the centre back position though I need to see him play first to confirm that view.

      • Fully agree about Coates but would like to,have seen another left sided defender brought in.

        I have a feeling that Borini must have promised Gus that we were the only English team outside of the top 6 that he would sign for if a move to Italy didn’t materialise. I still
        reckon that he was told by Italy’s national coach that his best chance of getting back into,his squad was with a move back to Italy …or by being good enough to get into Liverpool’s team.

        However no way is he worth £14 mill plus £95k a week.

  4. I remember that no one got too excited when Borini arrived a year ago. The transfer deadline is a lottery but I have a gut feeling that it will work out okay. The next time round in January, Sunderland might have more financial leverage compared to teams like Hull and Southampton. This bout of frugality might work to their advantage next time round.

  5. I tend to agree with your sentiments John with one notable exception. You said 14M “is a lot if his heart isn’t it it.” For a player of his calibre it’s a lot even if his heart was in it.

    What I fail to understand is the perseverance with this which had dragged on like a daytime soap opera. As he hadn’t signed within a day or so of the offer being accepted then it was plain as day that he wasn’t coming.

    His demands, which appear excessive by most people’s standards were possibly designed to prevent a transfer. Ask too much and he ends up staying at Liverpool despite his manager making it clear that it would be better to leave.

    The biggest disappointment is not that he didn’t sign but the fact that other players should have been pursued instead. Poyet has made himself look foolish with some of his remarks to the media along the way. He should have just kept schtum.

    • I’m with you on this one Jeremy. I think Poyet [ not for the first time ] has demonstrated a fair degree of naivety.

      He has been seen to pin his colours on one player, and his judgement about FB’s character has to be questioned.

      If we were talking about George Best, one could possibly understand it. But Fabio Borini…………?

  6. Agree that we are better off. If Gus can blood some of the young’ns ….who delivered in pre-season …then things will improve. Nothing seismic….we’re Safc after all…but steady progress

  7. Borini, much as I appreciate what he did when playing for us is not worth an outlay of £14 million and reported wages that would come to another £18.72 million over a 4 year non-renogiated deal.

    If those figures are true then we have to ask was it

    a) Poyet’s desire for the player that prevented the search for and signing of an alternative

    b) Congerton’s inability to find an alternative

    c) restrictions placed on both by Ellis Short that stopped him coming?

    Of course there may well be other factors involved such as Borini not fancying the role Poyet had in mind for him.

    Some big ifs here but if Fletcher can adapt to Poyet’s system, if Wickham can show that the back end of last season was no flash in the pan, if Altidore can get the goal which will open the floodgates, if either of those three or Johnson, Giaccherini, Gomez, Alvarez or even Graham can play just off the centre forward whoever that may be and if we can keep at least 5 of the back line healthy at any one time we should be OK.

    Five big Ifs I know but teams such as Stoke, WBA, Palace, Leicester, Burnley, The Mags etc. are all in the same boat. We are better off than this time last season I think but still two or three players short.

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