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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Liverpool agree £14m fee with Sunderland for transfer of Fabio Borini

Chris Bascombe

Published 19/07/2014 | 14:35

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14 May 2014; Fabio Borini, Liverpool XI, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. Friendly Match, Shamrock Rovers v Liverpool XI, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Fabio Borini, Liverpool XI, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal against Shamrock Rovers

Liverpool have agreed a £14 million fee with Sunderland for Italian striker Fabio Borini.

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Borini spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light where he impressed manager Gus Poyet with some vital goals to assist the club's extraordinary Premier League survival.

He was a priority signing for the Black Cats, but after an earlier valuation of £10 million was rejected, terms were agreed on Friday.

The 23-year-old becomes the second Liverpool striker to depart the club this month, following Luis Suarez. Their combined sale of £89 million significantly swells Brendan Rodgers’ transfer kitty for the rest of the summer as Liverpool prepare to be Europe’s biggest spenders.

The Liverpool manager could dip into those funds after it emerged on Friday night that an approach hade been made to Queens Park Rangers over striker Loïc Remy.

Another player soon to depart on a permanent basis is Pepe Reina, but the Spanish keeper will join Liverpool’s tour of the United States as he awaits resolution to his potential return to Napoli.

Reina spent last season on loan in Italy and is available for just €5 million (£3.9 million) this summer, but so far no deal has been struck and he has been called into Rodgers’ touring party.

Despite his presence, a revival of his Anfield career is not on the agenda. There was a cooling of the relationship between manager and goalkeeper following his temporary exit a year ago, Rodgers stating he was unimpressed with a farewell letter penned by the keeper while he was still under contract.

“I was surprised at the letter,” Rodgers said last season.

“When you are a loan player, I would expect that he should come back, but obviously Pepe made it very clear when he went to Napoli that he was looking to move. He penned a great big letter saying he was going to work with the best manager that he'd worked with and thanked him for his time for Liverpool.”

The pair will have to restore their professional relationship during pre-season, although it would appear a game is being played as Napoli delay a fresh approach for Reina’s services, presumably hoping to secure a deal even cheaper than his current bargain fee.

Reina’s plight seems curious because Liverpool are badly in need of a new goalkeeper this summer. Despite some encouraging games in his debut campaign, Belgian Simon Mignolet still has plenty of improving to do and back-up keeper Brad Jones is more suited to being the number three keeper than a direct understudy.

However, Reina’s Liverpool departure a year ago was based on the fact the Anfield club no longer felt he was value for money. He was judged on a prolonged dip in form and a lucrative salary.

For all his differences with the Merseyside club, the Spanish keeper is still arguably the best keeper Rodgers currently has at his disposal.

Liverpool continue their pre-season schedule at Preston North End on Saturday with Rickie Lambert making his debut for the club.

Lambert was a surprise purchase from Southampton and was not due to join pre-season training until this week with the rest of the England World Cup representatives.

Instead, he asked to join the pre-season early.

German midfielder Emre Can is also expected to feature for his first appearance since a £10 million move from Bayer Leverkusen.

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