As excited as everyone here was about Mario Balotelli, the Liverpool Echo reports some even better news: Fabio Borini, the 24 year old Italian striker who has had zero impact at Liverpool, is in talks with Fiorentina. After the player turned down moves to Sunderland and QPR last year, he's finally realized that it's not going to happen for him at Liverpool.
Borini's agent Marco de Marchi claims talks have begun with Fiorentina and West Ham, with the player yet to express any real interest in his destination. The player seems an uncertain fit for Paulo Sousa, as a striker who doesn't score and isn't blessed with notable pace or size; rather, he's more a slippery penalty box operator. He is capable of playing out wide, so perhaps he could offer a direct threat from the left wing, but that seems to be a little bit of a stretch. In fairness, it's not known yet whether Fiorentina have reciprocated the interest shown by Borini.
The peripatetic forward started at Bologna, but moved to Chelsea in 2007, starring for the reserves and making a handful of appearances for the senior team. A loan to Brendan Rodgers' Swansea in 2011 revitalized the youngster, as he struck 6 goals in 9 games, securing a move to Parma, who immediately sent him to Roma, where he scored 9 goals in 24 appearances. After just a season in the Eternal City, he moved to Liverpool for a reported 10.5 million euros in 2012. He's made just 25 appearances for the Reds since (with only 2 goals), although he scored 7 goals for Sunderland on loan in 32 games last year.
Much of Borini's reputation is due to his performances for Italy. As captain of the U19 team in the 2010 Euros, he impressed enough to make his senior debut under Cesare Prandelli, and claw his way into the impressive Azzuri Euro squad of 2012. He also starred in the U21 Euro competition in 2013, being named to the team of the tournament. He was also included on Don Balon's list of young players to watch in 2012. These last few years, though, have taken some (okay, most) of the shine off. While there may still be a talented player in there who just needs regular playing time to blossom, Borini seems more like Roberto Acquafresca: a career journeyman who'll never live up to the initial hype.