Fabio Borini signed for Liverpool today in a deal worth £12 million. As Chelsea supporters, how do we react to this?
I am one of the few people I know who follow Chelsea’s Youth Academy as much as the first team and that all started with Borini. In 2007 I heard about this signing and decided that I would actually check out the youth squad. Ever since, I have watched nearly every youth and reserve game I could with Borini as my favorite player.
Borini still causes a lot of debate among Chelsea supporters. On one hand, he proved to be a huge success with Roma and Swansea when he was given the opportunity to play with the big boys. On the other hand, he’s not Drogba or Torres and he never will be. He wasn’t quite Chelsea level when he graduated and people argue that he was never going to be the absolute top class striker a team like Chelsea needs.
Despite his eight appearances, he was never given a real shot with the Chelsea first team. Carlo Ancelotti was a huge admirer of Borini but an injury kept Ancelotti from promoting him and then came Fernando Torres. Ancelotti was sacked soon after and that could have been a big influence in Borini’s decision not to resign with Chelsea.
Instead of staying with Swansea, he moved to Roma and had a breakthrough season. His performances even earned him his first senior cap at the age of 20 and a spot in Italy’s Euro squad. There were reports that Juventus and other top Italian clubs wanted him but he ultimately chose to return to England.
So did Chelsea really miss out by not giving their academy a chance? I don’t think so. Look at Scott Sinclair or Jack Cork. They were both promising prospects who have worked their way into the Premier League without Chelsea, but neither would warrant a spot on the squad. Neither would Borini. Starting for Roma or Liverpool as a striker today is not the same as starting for Chelsea. Suarez and Carroll are not Torres and Drogba. Not even close.
While it pains me to see a player I cheered on for many years go to such a hated rival, I can’t help but secretly wish the best for him. While I don’t agree with his choice, I respect him for all that he did in Blue. Next time I see him, he will be a rival, but you won’t see me chanting “Chelsea reject” at him anytime soon.