Sunderland, after finding themselves marooned in League One football after a dramatic fall from grace, are finally back on track with a return to the Premier League the aim this season under Tony Mowbray.
The Black Cats currently occupy sixth spot in the Championship standings – the final coveted playoff spot – with Mowbray’s men entertaining the once disillusioned Sunderland masses with big wins this season against the likes of Southampton and Norwich at the Stadium of Light.
Jack Clarke is the standout performer for the rejuvenated Black Cats currently, the ex Tottenham winger amassing nine goals from 16 starts in the second tier with rumours even indicating he could be on for a move to the top-flight if he keeps this form up as reported by TEAMTalk.
Patrick Roberts on the opposite flank hasn’t quite been as electric this campaign, the ex Manchester City man only registering a sole assist in terms of goal contributions with Clarke far superior down the left wing.
Roberts’ slow start to the season will have Sunderland fans wondering what could have been if they had kept hold of former man Fabio Borini for longer at the Stadium of the Light, the ex Black Cats attacker outperforming Roberts in his native Italy.
Borini signing for Sunderland
Borini would sign on the dotted line permanently at Sunderland in 2014 after a successful initial loan spell, Liverpool letting their Italian attacker go for £14m.
Netting seven times whilst playing as loanee in the Premier League for the Durham-based outfit before joining permanently, Borini was meant to be a statement signing for the Black Cats at the time and a player the club hoped would excel for many years to come.
However, the now 32-year-old would depart three years after signing for AC Milan in 2018 with the 5 foot 11 winger a forgotten figure now to the Black Cats contingent.
Borini’s numbers for Sunderland
In total, the ex-Liverpool man would accumulate 17 goals and six assists from 93 games playing for Sunderland – his most prolific season coming when he was still just a loanee, unable to capture those similar heights as a permanent member of the group.
In his final Premier League season playing at the Stadium of Light, Borini would only net a meagre two goals before AC Milan came calling for his services to end his underwhelming stay with Sunderland, quitting in a £4.8m move.
It’s been in his native Italy this season for Sampdoria where Borini has managed to come into his own, despite nearing the end of his playing days at 32 years of age.
How Borini is playing in 2023
This season – swapping between playing as a centre-forward and down the flanks – Borini has seven goal contributions for his new Serie B employers from just 12 games played.
It means the ageing attacker is outperforming Roberts at Sunderland, the Englishman only contributing to one solitary goal with an assist.
Sampdoria’s new star up front has five goals of his own with two assists, netting twice in a recent 2-0 home success over Cosenza – Borini only denied a hat-trick by the woodwork on the day, attempting a staggering eight shots in total per Sofascore at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris Stadium.
In contrast, Roberts has been lacklustre in his recent attacking play for the Black Cats. The wide man didn’t register a single shot on goal versus Birmingham City per Sofascore, yet played a role creatively with four key passes in the contest to show flashes of quality.
Sunderland will hope Roberts can help his team going forward as the season goes on, the 26-year-old has been previously potent in his career notably with Celtic – scoring nine times during the 2015-16 season for the Hoops.
Borini, on the other hand, will just continue enjoying his football with Sampdoria with the ex-Sunderland man finding a new lease of life so late into his career.