Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet has warned top transfer target Fabio Borini he is primed to switch his attention elsewhere as the transfer window draws to a close.
- Randall: Black Cats primed for United upset
Borini enjoyed a successful 2013-14 season on loan at the Stadium of Light from Liverpool and Poyet has made the capture of the 23-year-old Italian a priority, but is yet to get the answer he craves with time running out.
The Uruguayan remains confident Borini wants to sign for the Black Cats, but despite having an offer which could eventually amount to 14 million pounds accepted, the proposed transfer is yet to materialise.
Poyet's optimism is not necessarily shared by sources on Wearside, and even the manager admits the time will come when he has to draw a line under his pursuit.
Asked if the club would set a deadline, he said: "I have asked myself many, many times. I don't know, to be honest, I don't know if we need to put a date on it or not. I don't know.
"It's a daily thing. If something incredible comes in and we need to make a decision then, a player that we cannot say no to, then I am sure there will be a few phone calls saying 'now or never' both ways.
"But at the moment, we haven't found that player, but we will see."
However, Poyet revealed Sunderland came close to having to make that decision after just missing out on a deal for Chile international Eduardo Vargas before he opted to join promoted QPR on loan.
"We were very close to getting Vargas," he said. "It was a matter of decisions between everybody -- clubs and cities, living and possibilities and things, and in the end, everything didn't come through for us to get the player.
"That was close to us making a decision on whether Fabio was coming or not coming. It's daily. We haven't put a date on it, but it's daily and we are looking for options."
In the event, Poyet will head into Sunday's home clash with Manchester United with the situation unresolved. He has been encouraged though by the changes he has been able to make to his squad and a solid preseason, luxuries which he did not enjoy on his arrival in October.
He said: "I know the players very well, there are no doubts. Last year, I had too many doubts. Now I know exactly the players we have.
"The squad at the moment is very compact and it's easier to control. Everybody knows exactly what we want apart from the new players, who are trying to get used to it very quickly, so it's better for the team.
"There are fewer and fewer and fewer excuses, which is good for me."
The Black Cats, who will be boosted by the returns of Billy Jones and Santiago Vergini to the squad, will host a United side desperate to bounce back from an opening-day home defeat by Swansea which did little to dispel the misery of last season.
Poyet, whose victory at Old Trafford in May was a key factor in their successful survival fight, said: "It's very difficult to see Manchester United losing two games in a row.
"It's a difficult game. They have got quality and I am sure they are going to be up for it, they won't let it go past. For us, it's a special day -- at home, it's the first game of the season.
"We need to play better than last week [a draw at West Brom] and be good on the ball to have a chance."