Fabio Borini is delighted to remain at Liverpool, hailing an “important decision” after a day when the striker came close to a move away from Anfield only to reject a transfer after failing to agree personal terms elsewhere. He was not the only player whose wage requirements proved a stumbling block on deadline day.
Borini could not reach an agreement with Queens Park Rangers, despite firm interest from Harry Redknapp and with Liverpool accepting an offer of around £10m plus add-ons for the Italian forward. It means he will, for the foreseeable future, remain on the fringes of the first team under Brendan Rodgers rather than accepting a fresh challenge in London.
Borini was also wanted by Gus Poyet at Sunderland, the club where he enjoyed a successful loan spell last season, but that move never materialised.
He is now ranked behind Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert in Liverpool’s pecking order of strikers, yet Borini wrote on Twitter: “I protected the MAN and the player that I am today … taking all the responsibility of the situation and for people who didn’t want it … and I m VERY happy with myself to have taken such an important decision.”
It is a decision that can be interpreted in either of two ways – that Borini is desperate to prove himself at a team on the up and who will be playing Champions League football this season, or that he is staying at Liverpool because no one else can afford his desired wages.
Tom Cleverley’s permanent transfer to Aston Villa also apparently collapsed late on Monday night because his representatives failed to agree terms with the club despite Manchester United and Villa already negotiating an £8m fee for the midfielder. Cleverley was then linked with a loan move to Everton only for that deal to break down, apparently over finances, before sealing a late short-term switch to Villa as talks ran into Tuesday afternoon. However, a permanent deal away from Old Trafford was scuppered, again by wage issues.
There were a number of players unable to secure deadline-day moves or with no desire to entertain transfer possibilities, despite serious interest from elsewhere and the fact that first-team opportunities at their current clubs are sparse. Aaron Lennon was linked with a move to QPR and Stoke but for now will remain at Tottenham Hotspur, where he is unlikely to feature heavily under Mauricio Pochettino. Manchester City’s young centre-half Matija Nastasic did not agree a loan move away from Eastlands despite interest, while Scott Sinclair could not be lured away from City by Stoke City.
The Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi, meanwhile, did link up with Mark Hughes’ side after agreeing a loan switch to Stoke but only after his wage demands prevented a permanent move earlier in the summer.
In the cases of Borini and Cleverley, though, there is a legitimate debate regarding a desire to play regular football. Cleverley has made only one first-team appearance for Manchester United this season under Louis van Gaal, who has strengthened in midfield following the signings of Daley Blind and Ángel di María, but did not agree to leave permanently.
Borini has not played at all for Liverpool this campaign and was obviously regarded as surplus to requirements last year, having been sent on loan to Sunderland, but again had no desire to depart. Whether he feels the same in January may depend on Rodgers’ inclination to give him another chance, despite his previous willingness to let him leave.