With one goal in 16 appearances Fabio Borini has failed to match the anticipation his arrival brought. The £11million Liverpool paid to Roma for the Italian forward has not been justified.
A dislocated shoulder suffered, ironically, against his former club Swansea is likely to keep him on the sidelines for the remainder of this season. He will not look back on his first 12 months at Anfield fondly.
Borini was the first of Brendan Rodgers’s signings, and the poster boy for a new era. His performances while on loan at Swansea – six goals in 12 matches – came under Rodgers and paved the way for the transfer. But, such has been the luckless streak, his agent has felt the need to affirm Borini’s place at the club. Marco De Marchi said :
His future is definitely at Liverpool. He’s signed a long-term deal with one of the most glorious sides in the world game.”
A common soundbite that will not dampen the speculation surrounding the 21-year-old. A return to Italy, where he played for Parma as well as the Giallorossi, has been mooted. The Daily Mail runs with Fiorentina’s interest, potentially as a replacement for Stevan Jovetic. Sporting director, Daniele Prade, let slip his admiration while talking to Radio Toscana.
We are looking for a forward with the hunger for goals. A player who lives to score goals. We like Fabio Borini, but it is unlikely that Liverpool will want to let him go.”
The case for selling is two-fold. First, Borini has suffered two major injuries and concerns rightly exist over his fitness. Second, even without his time on the treatment table, he has not looked like the player to take the weight off of Luis Suarez.
That task has now fallen to Daniel Sturridge, who with five goals in seven appearances, has carved his own place in the team. A fit Borini would struggle to command a regular starting berth and genuine questions have to asked of his long-term future.
At 21 there is time for these assumptions to be struck down – maybe as quickly as Borini himself. A successful European Under-21 Championships could revitalise and see him return to Merseyside cleansed of this year’s curse. On the other hand, Liverpool may see it as an opportunity to tempt those with a lukewarm interest.
That could hang on Rodgers’s transfer plans. Last season, days before the Italian’s signing, he explained there “is not the money flying about people think there is”. Not much has changed. With Champions League qualification unlikely, spending will have to be conservative. Fringe players will be at risk of being shipped out to raise funds.
For Borini, the key could be his manager’s faith. In July he eulogised :
I’d anticipate that over the next two or three years he’ll really progress and I’m sure do very well for Liverpool. Fabio fits the model of what we’re trying to do in building not only for now, but also for the future.”
That progress will have to start soon if he wants a future with the Reds.