September 1 will see the summer transfer window come to a close, but on top of that, it’ll allow Liverpool fans to finally pause for breath.
Indeed, Anfield has been a hub of transfer activity over the last few months, with manager Brendan Rodgers looking to forge his side into serious title contenders without the services of last season’s top scorer Luis Suarez.
While all eyes have been on those heading to Merseyside, players creeping through the Anfield exit door have rather gone under the radar, and here, we take a look at two stars that may well have donned the famous red shirt for the last time.
Italian striker Fabio Borini’s exit from Anfield has been very much on the cards for some time now, and it looks as if the final few details of his switch are just being ironed out.
Back in July, Sunderland, who took Borini on loan last season, agreed on a £14 million fee to bring the 23-year-old back to the Stadium of Light—per BBC Sport—but new developments mean that a permanent transfer may well be off the table.
The Daily Mirror report that while Borini is keen to head back to Wearside, he’s only willing to do so on a loan deal as he still wants to fight for a place in the Liverpool side.
While such an attitude is to be admired, you feel that the chances of Borini working his way back into the Liverpool setup are slim.
With the Reds harbouring Rickie Lambert, Daniel Sturridge and now Mario Balotelli in their ranks, the Italian would be the fourth choice at Anfield.
Not just that, though, as Borini has hardly staked a claim for a place in Rodgers’ side on the performance front since his move from Parma—as WhoScored.com revealed:
Fabio Borini: Scored more goals (9) in his 24 Serie A apps in 2011/12 than he has in 45 PL apps in the last 2 seasons (8)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 22, 2014
The goalscoring touch that made him a star in Serie A did seem to come back to him with the Black Cats last season, and unsurprisingly, Sunderland manager Gus Poyet is open to taking him back for 2014/15—per Sky Sports’ Keith Downie:
Poyet insists he'd be open to taking Fabio Borini on loan again, as opposed to a permanent transfer.— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) August 22, 2014
The fate of Borini is likely to be settled in the coming days, and that’s much to the relief of Poyet, who told Sky Sports that the saga is getting a bit boring:
“I think we're getting close to a final decision either way because it's been a bit too long. It's time now that it's a yes coming or a no, as we need to move on.”
Working his way into Sunderland’s front line ahead of Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher won’t be easy for Borini, but the chances of landing the first-team football that he sorely craves are far greater away from Anfield.
At just 23 years of age, there’s plenty of room for the striker to progress, and you never know—in several years’ time after a few seasons elsewhere, Borini could be a prize asset for the Reds.
Defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva is another star whose chances of first-team football have diminished recently, and he too may well have played his last match for Liverpool.
A reunion with former Reds manager Rafael Benitez at Napoli has been dominating the headlines regarding Lucas’ future, but the Italian giants have reportedly asked Liverpool to wait before completing the move for the 27-year-old.
As Joe Short of the Daily Express reports, the Serie A club will only take Lucas if they progress to the Champions League—which isn’t exactly a sure thing.
Benitez’s men drew 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao in their first leg, but face a tricky trip to the La Liga club in the second leg to secure qualification.
However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, via Short, the Napoli boss is a big admirer of Lucas, and will look to take him on a loan deal for £1.6 million with an option to buy next summer for £8.3 million.
It appears that the man himself is open to a move to Serie A, too, as he refused to rule out making the switch when Vavel Brazil posed the question—per Sky Sports:
“I can never say never.”
German star Emre Can’s signing means that Liverpool’s first team is going to be difficult for Lucas to break into in the long run, meaning that moving on is best for all parties.
Should Borini and Lucas both move on a permanent basis, Liverpool would pocket upwards on £22 million—not bad for two players that are out of the manager’s plans.