Fabio Borini rejected a late hijack attempt from West Ham to complete his return to the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland’s 13-month pursuit of former loanee Borini finally reached a successful ending yesterday after the Italian penned a four-year contract in a £7.75million move from Liverpool, which could eventually rise to £10m, depending on add-ons.
Borini had already decided to return to Wearside and immediately dismissed the idea of moving to Upton Park.
The Black Cats had virtually abandoned their interest in Borini late last week, but after several other striker targets proved discouraging over the weekend - most notably Borussia Dortmund’s Adrian Ramos - they restarted talks with Liverpool over the 24-year-old.
However, I understand that while Borini was discussing terms and undergoing a medical at Sunderland yesterday, West Ham also submitted a bid with Liverpool.
The Hammers, like Sunderland, had previously made an enquiry with Liverpool, but when they learned of the Black Cats’ move, they attempted to hijack the deal.
But Borini had already decided to return to Wearside and immediately dismissed the idea of moving to Upton Park, after interest from Italian pair Inter Milan and Fiorentina never developed into anything concrete prior to the transfer window closing on the Continent last night.
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat had been keen to add a powerful targetman to his squad this summer, yet Borini is likely to be the only new striker arriving at the Stadium of Light prior to the deadline after chairman Ellis Short loosened the purse strings to splash out on the Italian international.
It is not impossible that Sunderland will add another frontman to the squad, with the Black Cats still boasting two domestic loans.
But Sunderland’s main focus before tonight’s 6pm deadline is on boosting Advocaat’s defensive options with a loan signing after the Black Cats have shipped 11 goals in their opening four Premier League outings.
With Adam Matthews out for six weeks with an ankle injury, and both Billy Jones and Patrick van Aanholt struggling for form, Sunderland need greater strength in the full-back positions, in particular.
There is understood to be more than one Premier League team eyeing a deadline day move for long-term Sunderland target Virgil van Dijk, yet Southampton remain in pole position to land the Dutch international from Celtic.
Sunderland also need to offload some players before the deadline, although Emanuele Giaccherini completed his loan switch to Bologna yesterday.
There have been reports in Scotland that Celtic have revived their interest in Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher and want to take the 28-year-old on a season-long loan, where they would cover a portion of his wages.
But while Sunderland have been open to the possibility of offloading Fletcher this summer, there are other players who are a bigger priority for the club to ship out.
Sunderland will almost certainly have to pay a percentage of Will Buckley or Liam Bridcutt’s wages if the former Brighton pair are to head to the Championship on loan.
Buckley has been a target for Leeds, yet they have been reluctant to match the winger’s wages, even though he is not one of Sunderland’s top earners.
It is understood that Sunderland will have to change their stance on Buckley if Leeds are to go back in for him.
The same applies to midfielder Bridcutt, while Valentin Roberge and Charis Mavrias are also free to leave, although neither departed before the Continental transfer deadline.