It is clear to see that Southampton are a side that have struggled to score goals in the Premier League this season. In 28 league games, they have scored just 28 goals.
This is a poor statistic, better than just four sides in the league; the current bottom two, Leicester and Middlesbrough, who have only 19 goals during the current campaign. Hitting the back of the net has clearly been an issue the Saints have been trying to solve for some time.
Enter Manolo Gabbiadini. Signed for a reported £17 million in the January transfer window, from Napoli, the Italian forward looks an ideal solution to Southampton’s goal scoring problems. He has already had an impact, and after being thrown into the Premier League, he seems a natural fit.
The player is a fine athlete, quick and strong, but also looks very comfortable with the ball at his feet. He looks like a striker who has played in the Premier League for years.
In just two league games since joining the club, he has three goals already to his name. Yet, it was his performance in the English League Cup Final against Manchester United that caught the eye of many.
The player grabbed two goals; one a fine piece of centre-forward play, getting in between the two defenders to poke the ball through David De Gea’s legs; and the second, one every poacher would be proud off – with the ball bouncing around in the opposition’s box the Italian has held off his man and, on the turn, put a fine strike into the bottom corner. In truth, he should have a third, but it was wrongfully called offside.
The January signing is clearly a fantastic finisher and provides something that the Saints’ have missed, with their other forwards, Shane Long and Charlie Austin, with just nine goals between them so far in the league.
Gabbiadini offers much more, though. The player is flexible in regards to position, and although in his Southampton career so far we have only seen him played as a lone striker, he is capable of playing on either wing or just behind the main centre-forward.
The former Napoli man also demonstrated fantastic movement against United, going in behind and coming short in order instigating attacks from a deeper position. He harried the Red Devils’ backline all game, chasing loose balls, pressuring defenders and holding the ball up to bring his team-mates into the game.
Gabbiadini looks a real asset for Southampton ahead of the remainder of the season and beyond, if they can keep hold of him of course. The Saints are known for being a ‘selling club’ and if Manolo Gabbiadini keeps performing like he has done since his arrival, they may find another one of their stars leaving in a future transfer window.
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