Fabio Borini and Andrea Dossena last night took Sunderland’s summer signings to 14, with Stephane Sessegnon leaving shortly before last night’s 11pm deadline.
The Black Cats have been the most active Premier League club in this summer’s transfer market.
Sessegnon joined West Bromwich Albion for £6m, whereas his replacement Borini has joined on loan, from Liverpool, and will wear the No.31 shirt.
Those deals will change the shape of Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland team. Sessegnon was a classic No 10, whereas the stable of forwards he leaves behind are largely out-and-out strikers.
The Benin international was an enigmatic figure during his time on Wearside, capable of brilliance – particularly during Martin O’Neill’s successful first few months in charge – but also of infuriatingly anonymous performances.
The forward never got to grips with the English language, and stories of home-sickness persisted throughout his Sunderland career, so for him to leave for another Premier League club was something of a surprise. His exit may have been hastened by drink drive charges last week, as well as the need to raise funds for the final phase of a prolific, but not expensive, summer of transfer business.
With Sessegnon’s sale, the Black Cats were expected to break even with their transfer dealings, with arrivals moving into double figures with the mid-July arrival of Emanuele Giaccherini, and have removed a number of high earners from their wage bill.
Borini has potential but, like most of Sunderland’s summer signings, has little Premier League pedigree. He has just one goal in the competition.
The 22-year-old began his career at Chelsea, but his only start for the club came in the League Cup. He had a successful loan spell with then-Championship side Swansea City before moving to Serie A side Roma via a summer on Parma’s books. He scored nine goals in 24 league appearances.
Borini’s former Swansea manager Brendan Rogers took him to Liverpool last summer but he failed to make an impression, scoring twice either side of a serious shoulder injury. Liverpool’s transfer business this year, which included signing Daniel Sturridge and Iago Aspas and keeping Luis Suarez, has pushed him down the pecking order to the extent they were prepared to let him go out on a season-long loan.
Left-back Dossena is another Italian who spent time at Liverpool, who he joined from Udinese in 2008. New chief scout Valentino Angeloni were at Udinese before joining Sunderland.
His arrival ends a long search for a permanent left-back. The Wearsiders have not had one since George McCartney. Jack Colback, a midfielder who has rejected a new contract, has been filling in there. Summer interest in Lucas Orban, Benjamin Mendy, Aly Cissoko, Bastian Oczipka and former loanee Danny Rose failed to produce a signing
Liverpool sold the left-back to Napoli for £4.25m in 2010 – a loss of nearly £3m. Sunderland have paid an undisclosed fee for the Italian.
Rumours spread during the day of a move for Tottenham Hotspur’s attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson but, like a move for Fenerbahce striker Moussa Sow, they came to nothing. Wages were thought to have been the sticking point in a move for Senegalese Sow, who had also been interesting Newcastle United.
Of Sunderland’s summer signings, only Cabrini, Dossena, Jozy Altidore, reserve goalkeeper Vito Mannone and Sung-Yong Ki – whose season-long loan from Swansea was confirmed on Saturday – have played Premier League football and none have more than 30 appearances in the competition.
The transfer window was expected to close with outcast Lee Cattermole still at the club, as well as Phil Bardsley, who was unable to leave because of a broken metatarsal. David Vaughan, who had been expected to join Crystal Palace in July, also remains part of the squad.
Meanwhile, Connor Wickham – linked with a loan move to Middlesbrough which could still be relegated – has pulled out of England’s Under-21 squad for this week’s game against Moldova with an unspecified injury.