After yet another season of losing key players, Southampton are set to re-inject their side with more quality talent this summer. Saints manager, Claude Puel, is said to have made contact with Manolo Gabbiadini in the past few days, according to Tutto Mercato.
The South Coast club saw their main striker, Graziano Pellè, leave the club, as well as speedy winger, Sadio Mané, who both played monumental roles in helping the Saints finish 6th and qualify for the Europa League. Pellè and Mane were both Southampton’s top scorers last season, netting 11 goals each.
Although Puel has brought in Nathan Redmond and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg this summer to bolster his attack, as well as already having Charlie Austin, Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long at his disposal, he is yet to seem satisfied. A direct replacement for Graziano Pellè will make Puel more content with his attacking options, which brings about the question, is Gabbiadini the man to fill his boots?
Based on stats last year, the answer is no. However, this is hindered by Gabbiadini’s lack of starts for Napoli last year due to Gonzalo Higuaín’s presence up front. The 24-year-old striker only managed to notch only 4 starts for The Blues in Serie A, finding the net 5 times.
Southampton will have to break their transfer record of £16m, which they paid for, flop striker, Dani Osvaldo, 3 years ago, if they are to bring the Italian hotshot to the South Coast.
Manolo Gabbiadini’s agent says the striker’s future “depends on Napoli” but warns:
We won’t accept another season like the last one.
However, with Higuaín leaving for Juventus, Gabbiadini has a much greater chance of a more frequent starting place for Napoli.
Stoke’s £19m bid was rejected in June, and Porto’s recent loan offer for the Italian striker has also been turned down. Napoli appear to be wanting at least £25m in a direct sale. All or nothing.
It is looking increasingly likely that Manolo Gabbiadini will be staying put at Napoli.