It would be a bit of a shame if Fabio Borini's time at Liverpool wrapped up before it ever really started.
The Italian's move to Sunderland looks to be back on again, and Gus Poyet indicated that while he hasn't had contact with Borini, the club has.
"He is being assessed now for his shoulder injury," said the Black Cats manager, per the Sunderland Echo. "That’s stopped everything a little bit. We will see. I have not held talks with him, but the club has, although that’s private. We know where we stand."
Last week, BBC Sport reported that Sunderland and Liverpool agreed to a fee for the 23-year-old. Borini and Sunderland had yet to reach an agreement, though, throwing a wrench into the transfer. His injury in a friendly against Roma provided another road block.
Liverpool are offloading somebody who's made 20 total appearances for them since arriving in 2012, half as many times as he played for Sunderland last year, and getting more than they paid for him.
The Reds have made a few summer purchases to bolster the attack, and Borini's collateral damage. It's as simple as that.
Why not do the deal?
Imagine if Liverpool had taken that same mindset with Jordan Henderson or Lucas. How many supporters were calling for their heads years ago?
That duo was at least afforded some playing time before everybody was convinced they were terrible and needed to be sold for better players.
Remember when Henderson nearly ended up going to Fulham as part of a deal for Clint Dempsey? That looks crazy now. The 24-year-old was determined to make his LFC career a success, and he's done exactly that.
Despite their early setbacks, he and Lucas were two of the most important players at Anfield—Lucas not so much after his ACL injury in 2011. The club was very patient with the two, and that patience was richly rewarded.
At the moment, Liverpool have three natural strikers, Borini included. Take him out, and LFC would be down to Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert. That's not gonna work when you've got the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup to worry about.
Manager Brendan Rodgers did say that the Reds aren't done in the transfer market, per Sky Sports:
We still have some positions that we want to fill within the squad so that by the end of August we have a strong group of players to go forward with. We've still got some business to do. We've brought in specific players for specific roles, players that have the profile of how we work.
Perhaps Rodgers will look to add another striker between now and the deadline. But it seems superfluous to sell somebody who's grown acclimated to the Premier League and proven to be a capable player.
Now that Liverpool have Champions League football, they need to have squad players who can step up when the bigger stars are fatigued and need a rest; otherwise you run into the same problem Arsenal did. The Gunners couldn't drop Olivier Giroud from the first team because they lacked a replacement. The Frenchman's performance started stagnating ever so slightly as a result.
Borini's loan spell at Sunderland should be looked upon as a success. In his 32 EPL appearances, he scored seven goals and assisted on two more. WhoScored.com gave him a 6.79 rating.
Those seven goals by themselves don't look all that impressive, but they were second on the club behind Adam Johnson's eight. It's no secret Sunderland had all kinds of problems scoring without Borini, and he was used the most out wide on the left, which isn't the best place from which to score goals unless you're Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Make no mistake about it, Liverpool could use Borini this season. He doesn't necessarily have to replace every one of Luis Suarez's 31 Premier League goals, but that doesn't preclude him from becoming a valuable member of the team.
Unlike Andy Carroll, he's also a player whose skill set could be useful in Rodgers' system. Squawka's Amitai Winehouse made the case that Borini helps to fill a tactical void:
Liverpool have also lost their talismanic striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona. Borini tends to occupy the same position Suarez did, as a left sided right-footed forward. He could be a real aid as a squad player alone this year, given Liverpool’s increased schedule as a result of their involvement in the Champions League. Despite their additions this summer, the Merseyside club have, at best, only one other player who could realistically occupy this position in Lazar Markovic, and he is still exceptionally young.
At the very least, LFC should give Borini a year. Make a genuine attempt to work him into the team, and if it doesn't work out, sell him to whatever club will have him.
By next summer, Divock Origi will be officially arriving at Anfield after spending one more year at Lille. That would arguably be a much better time to discuss a possible Borini transfer. If Borini doesn't work out, Liverpool know they've got Origi waiting in the wings.