Gus Poyet insists he has no reservations about spending a club record £14m to bring a ‘key player’ such as Fabio Borini to Sunderland.
The Black Cats agreed that price with Liverpool for the Italian almost four weeks ago but, while Poyet has again reiterated that the deal is still very much alive, Borini’s transfer has yet to be finalised.
The striker spent a successful season on loan with Sunderland last term, scoring 10 goals in all competitions, but the fee agreed between the clubs last month has raised eyebrows both on Wearside and further afield.
However Poyet is in no doubt that, even at £14m, the 23-year-old represents good value.
Asked about Borini’s move, he said: “It’s still ongoing,” Poyet told American satellite radio station SiriusXM, when asked about the transfer.
“I’m desperate [for it to happen] but it’s still ongoing.
“Fabio, for us, is important and I will tell you why.
“You can always go and spend some millions on a player, but when you know the player the way I know Fabio, how professional he is, how much he cares, the positions in which he can play, and what he brings to the team and to the group...
“He has plenty of things that I really, really like. He’s professional and I think he would be fantastic for the group as well, not just because he scores goals.
“He’s a key player, which is why the [fee] agreement with Liverpool is quite a big one.
“We’ll see. I’m still hoping it is going to happen, but we need to wait and see.”
Sunderland have already brought in six new signings, but landing Borini remains Poyet’s number one priority during the summer transfer window.
Aside from Borini, the Black Cats are also hoping to bring in another wide man before the end of the month.
And Poyet has renewed his interest in winger Will Buckley, who played under him at his previous club Brighton.
Sunderland had a bid for the 24-year-old turned down in January, but the Black Cats are understood to have launched a second attempt to prise him away from the Seagulls.
Sunderland have also been linked with a move for Manchester City defender Micah Richards.
The 26-year-old is in the final year of his contract and has been told he can leave.
Richards would fit into Poyet’s plans due to his ability to operate in several positions, but he would have to take a significant pay cut on his reported £70,000-per-week salary.