Sunderland appear to be turning their transfer interest to Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck after becoming frustrated with their pursuit of Liverpool's Fabio Borini.
This is according to the latest reports from The Daily Express, which claim that discussions between the Black Cats and Liverpool regarding the permanent transfer of former loanee Borini have stalled somewhat in recent times, with manager Gus Poyet now believed to be interested in signing Welbeck.
23-year-old forward Welbeck - a product of Manchester United's youth academy - missed Louis van Gaal's first competitive game in charge of the club last weekend, with an injury sustained during pre-season preparations ruling him out of the hugely disappointing Premier League opening day defeat to Swansea City at Old Trafford.
Welbeck has history with Sunderland of course. The England international spent the entire 2010/11 season on-loan at the Stadium of Light, notching six goals in 26 top-flight appearances under Steve Bruce as a replacement for Kenwyne Jones.
Clearly still impressed with Welbeck, Bruce - who is now in charge of beaten FA Cup finalists Hull City - has been linked with another move for his services during the current transfer window, with the Tigers said to be ready to make club-record bid for the £14 million-rated striker.
Whether Manchester United would be willing to sanction Welbeck's exit at this stage of the summer, however, remains to be seen.
While he is not always seen as an integral figure at the club, Van Gaal and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward have notably struggled to secure their first-choice transfer targets and relinquishing a useful squad player - particularly at a time when injury concerns are already mounting - may not be in Manchester United's best interests.
Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer rumours
Borini move dead?
Quite where Sunderland's sudden interest in Welbeck leaves their long-standing pursuit of Borini is anybody's guess, quite frankly.
The Italian proved a real hit during his temporary spell in the North East last season, helping Poyet's side to avoid relegation to the Championship and also to make the final of the Capital One Cup.
All the speculation has pointed to Liverpool having already accepted an offer from Sunderland for Borini, which could hint that it is the player's reservations about an aspect of the move that have led to negotiations screeching to a halt.
While the £65 million sale of the controversial Luis Suarez to Barcelona has left parent club Liverpool somewhat shorter on options in the final third, it seems highly unlikely that Brendan Rodgers will afford Borini any further opportunity to prove that he can make a success of his career at Anfield.
Indeed, the finances involved in such a double deal would suggest that Sunderland are unlikely to sign both Welbeck and Borini.
Poyet has certainly been pro-active in the market of late with former Brighton winger Will Buckley and ex-Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell joining fellow new signings Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez and Patrick van Aanholt.
There remains concern over the future of Conor Wickham, however, with Sunderland struggling to get the burly striker to commit his long-term future to the club amid admiring glances from other Premier League outfits.
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