It is understood that the 24-year-old Italian was due to head for Wearside to undergo a medical ahead of a move before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
A successful completion would end the lengthy pursuit of a man who played a key role in the Black Cats’ run to the 2014 Capital One Cup final, in which he scored the opening goal, and their remarkable escape from Premier League relegation at the end of the same season.
Former head coach Gus Poyet made Borini his number one target last summer, but was unable to persuade him to swap Merseyside for the north-east as he sought to establish himself at Anfield.
However, he has been unable to force his way into Brendan Rodgers’ plans – he made just 18 appearances last season and is yet to figure this – and has been linked with a series of clubs this summer, several of them in his native Italy.
Speculation has mounted in recent days that Watford could tempt Borini to Vicarage Road, but Sunderland, who collected their second league point of a testing start to the new season in a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday, hope to beat them to the punch with a lucrative deal which is understood to be worth around £60,000-a-week to him.
Borini’s capture would further appease Poyet’s successor Dick Advocaat, who has spent recent weeks urging owner Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton to deliver the five or six “quality” summer signings he believes are vital if the club is to avoid yet another scrap for top-flight survival.
Significantly, new boys Yann M’Vila and Jeremain Lens both scored at Villa Park, where there was a seat on the bench for Sweden international Ola Toivonen, Advocaat’s latest recruit.