SUNDERLAND are hoping Liverpool’s £4m capture of Rickie Lambert will increase their chances of being able to sign Fabio Borini this summer.

Borini has returned to Anfield after a successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light, and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had hinted that he would like to include the Italian in his first-team squad for next season.

However, Lambert’s arrival has shuffled Borini further down the pecking order, and the 23-year-old has already stated he will look to leave Merseyside if there is little chance of him playing first-team football.

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Poyet would love to re-sign him after his seven Premier League goals proved crucial in Sunderland’s survival last season, but the Black Cats will not be the only interested party if Liverpool indicate that they are willing to move him on.

A number of Italian clubs have already expressed an interest in Borini, who could command a fee of up to £10m if he leaves Anfield this summer.

Whether Sunderland would be willing to pay that much remains to be seen, although the possible sale of Steven Fletcher could help recoup some of the outlay.

Fletcher’s future remains uncertain after a succession of injuries restricted him to just 13 Premier League starts last season, and youngster David Moberg Karlsson is another player who could be leaving the Stadium of Light this summer.

Having arrived in a £1.5m deal from IFK Gothenburg last summer, the 20-year-old made a solitary Capital One Cup appearance before moving to Kilmarnock on loan.

However, he was unable to claim a place in the SPL side’s first team, and has accepted he might have to leave Sunderland in order to kick-start his career. That could be easier said than done, however, as the Black Cats will attempt to secure a seven-figure fee for his services.

“What David wants is to find a club that would have him as they see him as the offensive player he is,” said Karlsson’s agent, Per Jonsson, who also represents Seb Larsson. “The problem lies in that Sunderland must take a loss.

“If you buy a sofa for 10,000 krona, you do not put it out for 300 krona a few weeks later. The thing is that everything is in Sunderland’s hands.

“We talk to them all the time, pretty much every other day, with Seb and David. We could get a loan, but we’re not so keen on it. I do not think David wants to be loaned again. We want to find a permanent solution so David gets peace and quiet for a while.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland have secured the long-term services of Jordan Pickford by tying the highly-rated young goalkeeper to a new four-year deal.

Pickford’s new contract, which commits him to the Stadium of Light until 2018, was confirmed yesterday and ends any doubt over the 20-year-old’s future amid mounting interest from elsewhere.

Pickford’s development was enhanced by loan spells at Burton Albion and Carlisle United last season, and it is likely that the Black Cats will look to send him to another Football League club for part of next season.

The departure of Keiren Westwood and Oscar Ustari has created a vacancy in Sunderland’s senior goalkeeping department, but it is unlikely that Pickford will be asked to provide full-time cover to established number one Vito Mannone.

Instead, Gustavo Poyet is expected to sign a more experienced shot-stopper this summer, with Crystal Palace’s Julian Speroni and Manchester City’s Costel Pantilimon currently under consideration.

“Last season was massive for me,” said Washington-born Pickford, who joined Sunderland’s academt as an eight-year-old in 2002. “I played games at Burton and at Carlisle, which was great experience.

“I want to keep developing and working hard and I’m delighted to sign a contract with the club I have always supported.”