Liverpool were not hugely active on transfer deadline day, having done all their incoming business earlier in the summer, but the protracted chase of striker Fabio Borini by several teams reached the somewhat surprising conclusion of the Italian choosing to remain at Anfield.
Despite not figuring in any of the Reds' competitive matches this season—and taking a shoulder injury in pre-season—and having offers from at least two sides to move to, Borini opted to stay at Liverpool to fight for a place which has been made clear will be difficult to win.
The club might have preferred to cash in on him, and manager Brendan Rodgers may not have a spot for him at present, but Borini's decision may just end up being one that benefits both parties this season.
Borini signed for the Reds from Roma in 2012, one of Rodgers' first recruits after arriving at Liverpool. However, he failed to find the net early on in the league before suffering a long-term injury, coming back later in the campaign to net against Newcastle.
So far he has just two goals in 20 games for the club, netting another 10 goals while on loan at Sunderland last season.
Now aged 23, he should be a regular at club level if he is to make the impact on the game hoped for him, already having won one Italy senior cap.
Sunderland had agreed a £14 million permanent deal for him, per BBC Sport, while Sky Sports reported that Liverpool accepted only £10 million for QPR on deadline day once it was clear Borini wasn't headed to the Stadium of Light.
Game Time at LFC
Borini is fourth-choice striker for Liverpool, behind Daniel Sturridge, Italian rival Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert. For wide attacking places, he barely comes into the equation now after signings such as Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic were added to Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Suso.
Why, then, has he chosen to stay?
It's easy to say that he wanted wages higher than his worth—certainly that seems to be Harry Redknapp's claim, per Sky Sports—but there must be more to it than that for Borini to have such vindication in remaining at Anfield.
Finally the madness is finished! I protected the MAN and the player that I am today...— fabio borini (@borinifabio29) September 2, 2014
...taking all the responsibility of the situation and for people who didn't want it...— fabio borini (@borinifabio29) September 2, 2014
...and I m VERY happy with myself to have taken such an important decision!— fabio borini (@borinifabio29) September 2, 2014
What he sees at Liverpool is the chance to perhaps wait, bide his time, train well...and, at some point, get his opportunity. It might be a League Cup game to start with, or it could be off the bench in a major tournament. Liverpool are, after all, back in the Champions League this season, with 50 or 55 matches ahead of them throughout 2014-15.
Liverpool frequently play with two strikers up top, and three alone is not sufficient to do so all season long—especially when Sturridge may suffer fitness problems, Balotelli may have consistency issues and Lambert may continue to not settle into the club as hoped.
Somewhere along the line, Borini's chance will crop up, and when it does, if he is able to have an impact on a game or two, thoughts will turn his way more frequently.
Perhaps Borini should get more opportunities to start, some fans might think. Perhaps Borini could be a reasonable option for us in January, another (bigger than QPR or Sunderland) club's recruitment team might opine.
Borini's Liverpool days might be all but numbered, and this extension of his time as the No. 29 nothing more than an epilogue, but while he's around, the team can use him as they see fit—and he himself can try to take those chances as a better stepping stone than being at QPR might serve for.
Better for All?
Liverpool were obviously happy to let Borini go, and the £14 million bid from Sunderland was pretty good, in fairness: It was only £2 million less than they paid for Balotelli—a profit on a player who hasn't done well in Red since signing two years ago—and a decent amount to recoup on a squad player at any point.
By deadline day, though, that initial fee had clearly gone down. The QPR bid may have been worth more over the longer term, but there is nothing to suggest Borini could have fulfilled the requirements of those additional costs.
If he gets a chance, though, when he plays for Liverpool—and if he takes that chance—then, not under an immediate rush to sell him again, the price could be driven back up somewhat.
And, in the meantime, if Borini's impact just happens to be in a telling Premier League clash to score the winner, or even further into fantasy land, to score the winner in a Champions League group game, then his wage payments between now and January, or next summer, could be worth every penny of the extra outlay.