Fabio Borini’s return to Sunderland would constitute a “really big deal, a great signing and drive the club on”, says Sebastian Larsson.
The Black Cats have agreed a £14 million deal – £12 million up front with £2 million in add-ons – with Liverpool for the Italian striker, who was the Wearside outfit’s leading goalscorer on a season-long loan spell last term.
Sunderland are also understood to have increased their offer for Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso – who also spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light – to £2 million plus defender Modibo Diakite.
Although 23-year-old Borini was pictured boarding a flight to the United States with team-mates yesterday as part of the Reds’ pre-season programme, Poyet remains cautiously optimistic about landing the striker.
While sources in Italy, where Juventus and Inter Milan are thought to be monitoring developments, claim Borini has yet to make a final decision on his future, both Gustavo Poyet and Reds’ manager Brendan Rodgers have confirmed a deal has been struck. Winger Larsson insists that would represent a significant coup for Sunderland.
The Swede said: “It would be a really big deal for the club. Fabio was here last year and did really well, so he knows the place and we know him.
“Of course that would be a great signing, but it’s for the people behind the scenes to deal with and we’ll have to see if it gets over the line.
“He showed last year just what a good player he is.
“Especially in the second half of the season, he showed what he can do for the club.
“We all know what he can bring to the team, and you need as many good players as you can to help improve the competition in the squad. If Fabio returns, it will help everyone else drive on and be better.”
Poyet added: “It’s just an ongoing thing.
“We’ve taken the steps we needed to take properly and now the next step is waiting for the correspondence and then we move on from there.
“Everything official, the right way. It’s clear the impact (Borini made last season), it’s clear the reason why we want to spend that much money on a player we know. It would be perfect for us.”
On Spanish full-back Alonso, Poyet said: “It’s been an ongoing situation, taking a bit longer than expected.
“You need to have everything in place. It’s not just dependent on us, it’s dependent on other people as well. So we just need to wait.
“It’s up to Lee (Congerton, sporting director) and the recruitment system doing its work.
“I’m calm regarding further signings because as everybody knows it’s not about numbers, it’s about certain qualities.
“It’s been a very strange summer for me, with the World Cup in the middle and people buying players for too much money. So we need to stay calm and make sure that we do the things slowly.”
Though Diakite, Alfred N’Diaye and Valentin Roberge all played a part in Saturday’s 5-1 friendly win over Darlington 1883 at Heritage Park, they – along with strikers Ignacio Scocco and Danny Graham – are expected to leave the club before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
Poyet added: “I can’t comment on the names but yes, and they know. It’s clear, there’s no doubt. For now they are our players, we respect them and we make sure they do what they need to do, training with us. They are professional, they behave and they not going to have a problem being with us.
“If we get the players we need, it’s going to be difficult for them to play the next few games, that’s for sure, but it’s not about being selfish, it’s about being professional and getting the best for the football club.”
Meanwhile, reported Sunderland target Matt Besler has agreed a new ‘Designated Player’ contract with Major League Soccer franchise Sporting Kansas City.
The US international said: “This is a dream come to true to know that I’ll be playing my whole career in Kansas City. A lot of factors went into this decision.”