After their remarkable progress over the last few years under managers like Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman, it’s now Claude Puel’s job to build on his predecessor’s brilliant work at Southampton. The Saints have Europa League football next season and they should ideally contend for a top-four finish after securing sixth-placed finish last season. So, quite clearly Puel has a monumental task in his hands but he has what it takes to thrive under the big demands from the fans.
Southampton have done decent business this summer by bringing in players like Nathan Redmond, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Alex McCarthy and Jeremy Pied but three of their key players Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama and Graziano Pelle made their moves out of St. Mary’s. The departures were so big that the South Coast side new a few big names before the transfer window closes to shape up the first-team squad.
According to reports from Italian media outlet Tutto Mercato Web, Southampton have made contact with Napoli over a potential deal for striker Manolo Gabbiadini. With the departure of Graziano Pelle, adding a new striker to the team is a no-brainer. Even though Shane Long finished the last season as one of the most in-form strikers in the Premier League and the Saints have Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Austin as two other options, they need another accomplished forward as the Europa League will test their squad depth.
Claude Puel’s formula for success at Ligue 1 side Nice last campaign included two forwards up front and to play two up front, you need at least four strikers who can compete among themselves for places in the first team. Gabbiadini is a versatile and creative who works his socks off for the side. The Italian is capable of playing in a range of attacking positions as a striker, supporting striker, attacking midfielder or even on the flanks.
The former Atalanta, Juventus and Sampdoria forward joined Napoli in January 2015 and since then, he just scored 20 goals from 60 games. Although, his figures do not speak for his true ability as his game time was utterly limited at the Naples side playing second fiddle to the best striker in Serie A Gonzalo Higuain. Even though the Argentine made his move to Juventus this summer, newly-signed Arkadiusz Milik was brought in which means Gabbiadini could certainly be on his way out.
The 24-year-old is a dynamic player who possesses a decent pace, positional sense and solid technique. With his strength and ability to play with his back to goal, he can hold up the ball for his teammates. Gabbiadini is capable both of creating and scoring goals thanks to his intelligence and he is also a threat from set-pieces.
A striker who likes to get involved in the game by coming deep and someone who can also be useful in a range of attacking roles will be a massive addition to the Saints. The Italian will offer Puel the freedom to switch his tactics during the game. Gabbiadini could be one hell of a signing for the Saints.