Gustavo Poyet has not given up on his pursuit of Fabio Borini, but Sunderland’s manager has admitted he will have to consider other options.
The Uruguayan was a happy man after seeing Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham both find the net in last night’s 2-0 friendly win over Real Betis.
He admitted afterwards he could even consider playing the pair together at times next season after what he has seen of them in combination over the last few weeks.
But there is no doubt Poyet is desperate to add wide forward Borini to the equation. The Italian was Sunderland’s top-scorer during a season-long loan last term and they have had a £14m bid accepted by Liverpool, but are holding out for an answer from the player
“We’re waiting but there’s nothing I can tell you because there’s no more than last week, no less than next week probably,” Poyet admitted last night.
“It’s still ongoing. The longer it goes we have to look at other options because that’s my job. But every time you are about to make a step forward (with another target) you stop because you still want Fabio. I cannot happen that we are left with nobody. I am working very hard to get the rest of the players we need.”
The only negative from last night’s win was a groin injury picked up by Emanuele Giaccherini in the first half.
The Italy international will go for a scan today, but Poyet’s gut feeling is that he will miss their Premier League opener at West Bromwich Albion a week on Saturday.
“It’s unfortunate because he did very well in the three in the middle in Portugal,” said Poyet.
“He overstretched a little bit but it’s just a football injury, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.
“The timing is not nice for the player but he’s going to be back in a couple of weeks.”
Elsewhere, Steve Bruce’s Hull City are just two games away from reaching the Europa League group stages after substitute Sone Aluko struck late on to give them a 2-1 win over AS Trencin in the qualifying third round last night.
The FA Cup runners-up suffered an early setback at the KC Stadium when Tomas Malec scored for the Slovakians after only 91 seconds, and the Tigers struggled to respond.
Former Black Cat Ahmed Elmohamady equalised before the half hour to give Hull a lifeline but, for the next hour, City looked set to exit the competition on away goals – and ahead of schedule.
Yet with 10 minutes remaining, super-sub Aluko smashed home from close range to send Hull straight into Friday’s draw for the Europa League play-offs.