Sunderland manager Gus Poyet recently confirmed the Black Cats had agreed a transfer fee for Borini, who had spent the previous season on loan from Liverpool at the Stadium of Light. As he told the Northern Echo (via the London Evening Standard's Richard Parry):
What I can inform you is that we have agreed terms with Liverpool. We are now waiting for correspondence, and we will go from there. We’re just waiting.
It’s an ongoing thing. We’ve done the steps that we needed to do properly, but the next step is that we are still waiting for the correspondence. Then we will go on from there, doing everything official, in the right way.
I think (Fabio’s) impact is clear, as is the reason why we want to spend that quantity of money. We know how much he can give us because we know him perfectly. It would be perfect for us.
Sky Sports' Fabrizio Romano knows the player has decided otherwise, however:
The initial reaction of Liverpool fans on social media was fast and furious, with a reported £14 million transfer fee (per Parry) enough to make Reds supporters more than willing to part with Borini.
While some fans applauded his loyalty and eagerness to prove himself at the club, most seemed upset at his unwillingness to accept his fate and move on from the club. One can only assume the club feels the same way.
A £14 million transfer fee for a largely unproven player is good business, and a by-product of the high transfer fees top clubs have paid for their transfer targets during the 2014 summer window.
The Reds need to handle the situation with care, however. Liverpool fans are notorious for their high demands of the club and its players, and they're not afraid to speak their mind. Borini has been taking a beating on social media, with some fans even going as far as threatening the forward.
The 23-year-old fits the mold of a typical Brendan Rodgers signing—a younger player with excellent potential, who can either be groomed into a quality contributor or moved to a different club for a nice profit.
Emre Can and Lazar Markovic have a similar profile, and Liverpool have built an excellent reputation over the past few years as a club willing to give younger players a chance to prove themselves at the highest level.
As far as sales pitches go, the Reds can present themselves as a premier destination for young, talented players. And potential future transfer targets will be following this transfer saga with a keen eye.
Borini's first season with Liverpool was hampered by injuries, and he spent the next campaign on loan with Sunderland. Whether he has done enough to deserve the chance to prove himself at his parent club is debatable, but at the very least, his eagerness to fight for his chance is admirable.
The Liverpool Echo's Jay Riley wants Borini to get his chance, even though he understands the reported transfer fee would present the club with an excellent return on their original investment:
If Borini goes to Sunderland, I'll be sad to see him go. My understanding was he'd be given a chance this season. But £14m is good money.— Jay Riley (@Jay_78_) July 19, 2014
By moving him now, against his wishes, the Reds are essentially telling Borini they're unwilling to give him that chance. That wouldn't help Liverpool's transfer profile when it comes to youngsters in a similar situation as Borini was at AS Roma, and neither does the abuse he's taking on Twitter.
That's not to say the club should just give Borini what he wants—it means caution is advised. Rodgers needs to sit down with the Italian and listen to what he has to say. Perhaps he can convince Borini a transfer move is in his best interest, or the two parties could go over other potential options.
Regardless of the process, the outcome needs to be one of two things: Either Borini gets the opportunity he so desires, or he leaves the club with a handshake, a smile and a kind farewell message for the fans.
Anything other than those two scenarios will look bad on the Reds, and a painful split between club and player can only harm Liverpool when they start the search for Borini's replacement.