Why Southampton must offload Manolo Gabbiadini this summer
Southampton must get back to the Premier League and regain their lost glory after narrowly missing the drop last season. The Saints endured a frustrating campaign which saw them lose captain Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool as their season crumbled gradually.
Mark Hughes successfully retained the club’s spot in the top-flight but now, he must make a strong start to the new term. The club have made quite a number of high-profile signings by bringing in the likes of Angus Gunn, Stuart Armstrong, Jannik Vestergaard and Mohamed Elyounoussi. On the flipside, they have offloaded the likes of Dusan Tadic, Florin Gardos and Sofiane Boufal.
Southampton are now reportedly looking to offload Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini as well. The former Napoli striker joined the south coast club just last year, after spending his entire career in the Serie A. The 26-year-old began his Southampton tenure in impressive fashion, scoring back-to-back braces in his first two games for the Saints.
But since then, it has been a downward spiral for the Italian who barely featured for the squad last season. Reports now suggest that the player is linked with a move back to Italy.
Lazio and Napoli are said to be chasing the Southampton striker who scored 9 goals in 39 appearances for the Premier League outfit. The presence of Shane Long and Charlie Austin meant Gabbiadini had to settle for a role on the bench. Both strikers are proven in terms of Premier League experience and offered a lot more threat going forward.
Gabbiadini was only able to muster a total of 28 appearances in the Premier League last season, out of which he appeared as a substitute in more than 15 games. Although his goalscoring tally was quite poor, he must be credited for scoring their most crucial goal in Southampton’s final game of the season, helping them survive the drop.
Nevertheless, the Italian was only able to muster an average of 0.8 shots per game. In terms of attacking threat, Gabbiadini was far too bleak and predictable for opposition defenders. In fact, he rarely produced anything meaningful and wasted a number of chances.
Being restricted to the bench and a lack of game time clearly affected the Italian’s confidence by large. After all, he was playing third fiddle to Charlie Austin and Shane Long, which would have dealt a huge blow to his momentum.
It doesn’t seem as though Manolo Gabbiadini is in Mark Hughes’ first-team plans for the season and a move back to Italy would be favourable for the striker. It would allow him to reignite his career and provide Southampton with some much-needed funds before the transfer window slams shut.