Southampton signed Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli on transfer deadline day for £14m in an attempt to bolster their attack. He’s made an instant impact with three goals in his first two appearances for the Saints.
Gabbiadini was relatively unknown to the Premier League before his arrival at Southampton, but his reputation has certainly increased following his excellent start to life under Claude Puel.
Gabbiadini wasn’t particularly potent in front of goal during his time in the Serie A, as the Italian forward only managed 15 goals in 55 games. But the figures fail to represent how he didn’t fit into Maurizio Sarri’s tactical set-up as the Napoli boss opted to set his team up with a lone striker, thus limiting Gabbiadini’s playing time and footballing ability.
However, the 25-year-old did enjoy some success in three games against Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Spezia before his arrival at Southampton as he scored a goal in each of those fixtures. But this only brought his tally up to 5 goals in all competitions for the Italian side this season.
Even though Gabbiadini plays his best football as a striker, he is more than capable of playing anywhere across a front three or in a central attacking midfield position. The ex-Napoli man’s versatility gives manager Claude Puel plenty of options going forward.
With Charlie Austin still on the sidelines following his nasty dislocated shoulder in December, the Italian’s arrival has come at exactly the right time. With Austin not expected to feature until the final few weeks of the season and Southampton’s threat in front of goal suffering a massive blow, the club’s fans will be more than happy to see a pacey striker capable of producing the goods on a consistent basis as he’s shown thus far.
Southampton’s F.A Cup campaign might be over, but they are still very much alive in the EFL Cup, as the Saints have progressed all the way to the finals and are set to take on Manchester United in what is sure to be a fierce battle.
It is more than likely that Gabbiadini will feature in such an important game for Southampton, who now have a chance of lifting their first major piece of silverware since they won the F.A Cup in 1976.
Gabbiadini likes to shoot from a distance and has lightening pace to burst past defenders. He also has incredibly quick feet capable of bamboozling the best defenders in the Premier League.
The £14 million spent on Gabbiadini is starting to look like a bargain buy for Southampton with Gabbiadini seemingly offering so much to the team in terms of goals.
At just 25, Gabbiadini still has plenty of years in his tank, and he could very well go on to be a real force at Southampton. The added bonus for Southampton is that even when Charlie Austin is fit again, Gabbiadini can feature alongside him and this could be a critical partnership for defenders who come up against them.