Increasing reports in Italy have indicated that Stoke City are plotting a bid for Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini this January and Mark Hughes is expected to go big and splash as much as £24m to land him at bet365 Stadium.
The 25-year-old has been a hot prospect this transfer window with clubs like Everton, West Ham United, Southampton, Wolfsburg and Tottenham, all willing to get his signature. And the huge bid will surely intensify the competition. According to La Repubblica, Stoke City are ready to blow the competition out of the water by lodging a big-money bid.
After quite a positive start to their campaign, the Potters entered the new year with three defeats and two draws in their last five matches. Stoke boss Mark Hughes is desperate to bolster his attacking options as his summer shopping has proved inadequate.
The Potters had a £19m bid for the Italian rejected last summer as he chose to make his mark in the historical Italian club, after Gonzalo Higuain’s big money move to Juventus. But, he has failed to make any impact in the number 9 position and Napoli are more likely to leave him after they had brought in Leonardo Pavoletti for £15m from Genoa.
West Ham United were the forerunners to get his signature until a few weeks back as Napoli boss Sarri’s admiration for West Ham flop Simone Zaza was speculated as a swap move for the strikers between the clubs, however, nothing has materialised.
Stoke City have a rich lot of creative players up front in Arnautovic, Charlie Adam, Xherdan Shaqiri and Joe Allen, who could provide in quality balls for the striker up front. However, it is the finishing that has lacked for Hughes so far, and Gabbiadini looks to end that problem.
A versatile player, Gabbiadini can play anywhere in the attacking third. His off the ball work rate has been commendable and his link-up play makes him an effective centre-forward. Coming up through the ranks of Atalanta, Juventus and Sampdoria, Gabbiadini joined Napoli in January 2015 and since then has managed 20 goals from 61 games despite playing second fiddle to Higuaín at first and then to Arkadiusz Milik.
Although he could manage only 2 goals in 12 appearances this season, his best years are yet to come and it will be up to Hughes to get the best out of him. After their recent 4-2 loss to Chelsea at Stamford, Stoke City are now in the 15th position with 21 points. But, things are pretty tight in the Premier League this season and things can change fast. Gabbiadini could be the option Stoke are missing.