Fabio Borini and goalkeeper Vito Mannone are searching for an escape route out of Sunderland even before relegation is confirmed and quite frankly it’s a disgrace. Agent Roberto De Fanti recently publicly declared his clients are moving on once the inevitable occurs saying,
“We say that unfortunately the relegation of Sunderland is near and with it the most important players are destined to leave the club including Vito and Fabio. They were most important for the club and helped also in historic days – semi-finals and a final at Wembley and won numerous derbies with Newcastle.”
It’s a sad indictment that the modern day player – let’s not pretend the problem is exclusive to the Black Cats – has no qualms about touting themselves around in such a fashion, even if it is via their agent. In case anyone missed the fact, there are games left to play and the club are still in the midst of a relegation battle. You could argue the Black Cats are in such dire straits by being rooted to the bottom of the table that there is not much of a ‘battle’ taking place.
It’s a fair comment but the point remains – how can you convince fans of your commitment to the cause and indeed the club if it is obvious by your actions that you don’t want to be there? Answer, you can’t, and that is the nub of the issue. Borini certainly is no stranger to abandoning clubs after a poor spell, and former manager Sam Allardyce has spoken previously about underperforming players.
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Borini is the biggest disappointment. The attacker has not found any sort of form this season and at £10mil has been a flop since his return to the club in 2015. His agent also has a penchant for publicly discussing his client’s potential transfers.
However, putting his lack of recent goals to one side his dedication on the pitch was always guaranteed. There has been a culture of fear amongst some of the players at times but Borini was one of those that could emerge with some credibility.
Yet this time around even Borini looks bereft of any fight. David Moyes can’t be helping in terms of motivation. His dour approach would struggle to spark life in even the most enthusiastic of player. But, players such as Borini still need to accept that they are the ones in control of their own behaviours and actions whether it be on or off the pitch.
There is surely a responsibility on the part of Borini and co, as employees of Sunderland football club, to, at the very least, attempt to show a desire in helping their club emerge from this season with some self respect. It’s a pledge that all players should easily be able to demonstrate yet it is one that too many within the current Black Cats squad seem to be struggling with.
Although next season is already showing no signs of giving the the Black Cats an easy ride, perhaps with relegation will come the opportunity to offload those that can’t even be bothered to muster effort for the club and fans. That in itself has to be a blessing in disguise.