GUSTAVO POYET remains confident of completing a deal for Fabio Borini, but admits there will come a point where he has to admit defeat and pursue alternative attacking options to the Italian.

Despite having agreed a £14m deal for Borini three weeks ago, Sunderland are still no closer to finalising a deal for the forward, who spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light.

Having travelled to the United States as part of Liverpool’s pre-season tour, Borini and his representatives have refused to give any indication about their plans for next season, leaving Sunderland in a state of limbo as they attempt to improve their own attacking options.

Loading article content

Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham were both on target in last night’s 2-0 win over Real Betis at Bishop Auckland, but Poyet accepts that his attack is short of numbers and, while Borini remains his preferred option, the clock is clearly ticking with the opening Premier League fixture just eight days away.

“We’re waiting but there’s nothing I can tell you because there’s no more than last week, no less than next week probably,” said Poyet. “It’s still ongoing.

“We knew that after he travelled and after the injury it would take a little bit longer, but we will keep working because we know him very well. Fabio ticks all the boxes because we know what we are going to get.

“We’re still confident it is going to happen, but the longer it goes, the more we have to look at other options because that’s my job. But every time you are about to make a step forward (with another target) you stop because you still want Fabio.

“It cannot happen that we are left with nobody though. It is a position we need to improve, but there are other positions we are looking at as well and I am working very hard to get the rest of the players we need.”

Fletcher and Wickham claimed their goals in the final ten minutes of last night’s game, and having fielded a lone striker for most of last season, Poyet is considering playing the duo alongside each other in the early weeks of the new campaign. “I think Connor is feeling better with Fletch next to him,” said Poyet. “It’s an option, and these games have given me information to make a decision on how we are going to play in the next few weeks.”