Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has confessed that although he may be unable to do so, he wants to keep on-loan Liverpool forward Fabio Borini at the club.

The Italian joined the Black Cats on a season long basis last summer from the Merseysiders amid concerns that he may suffer from a lack of playing time at Anfield.

He has since thrived at the Stadium of Light, with Poyet having put his faith in the man brought in by controversial predecessor Paolo Di Canio.

Borini cemented his place in Sunderland folklore with a string of top displays in their Capital One Cup run – including the opener in their 3-1 loss to Manchester City in the Wembley final – and has since been linked with a full move to the club.

However a return to Liverpool looks to be the most likely outcome, yet Poyet hasn’t given up hope of keeping the 22-year-old:

“Fabio has become a hero, a legend, which is great. He has really got into the club and the fans. He lives football, he’s a top professional, he’s always on time, he’s always trying to be better in training.” He is quoted by the Daily Mail.

“And when you score goals in special games, at special times like he did it gets you closer to people and gets you to play better. He’s showing what a good player he is.

‘In the beginning it was my fault he was not playing. Now, if he’s not the first one you pick, he’ll be the next one. He’s at that level.

“I don’t know if it will be possible to sign him, it’s out of our hands but I can tell you that we like him a lot and we will try. People will say the price is going up. I’m not going to lie, he’s an important player, he’s been great. I hope he finishes the season at the same level scoring important goals.

“If he makes us safe in the next five games then I won’t play him in the next five. Then maybe everyone will forget about him. “Fabio Borini, oh yeah rubbish,” so then we can buy him.”