Southampton star Manolo Gabbiadini has turned into something of a forgotten man at St. Mary’s Stadium.
The Italian, signed for £15 million from Napoli in January 2017, has not flourished in the way fans had hoped.
His initial impact was exciting for the Saints, and he scored a handful of goals including two against Manchester United in the EFL Cup final.
It looked as though Southampton had found themselves an excellent number nine with lethal finishing attributes.
But fast forward 18 months and Gabbiadini rarely gets a sniff now.
He certainly is not fancied by Mark Hughes, who was brought in as Mauricio Pellegrino’s replacement in March 2018. The Spaniard also wasn’t keen.
It’s hard to see how a player that looked so devastating when he first joined is now so starved of game time.
Surprisingly, Gabbiadini has actually been left out of the last two Premier League matchday squads and has played only 36 minutes in the competition so far.
A chance against Brighton?
Southampton take on Brighton on Monday and it could be make or break for Gabbiadini.
At the time of writing, Charlie Austin and Shane Long are both injury doubts according to the Daily Echo, meaning the Italian should make the squad if they aren’t passed fit.
Whether he starts in a partnership with Danny Ings or not is another matter.
However many minutes he is afforded in the game by Hughes, he simply must take his chance.
At the end of the day, Gabbiadini has proven he can score goals and is also a creative player.
Southampton find goals hard to come by these days, and the ex-Sampdoria poacher is surely worth considering.
If he doesn’t feature at all then clearly something is wrong.
A third straight league snub could be curtains for the 11-cap international and that would be a shame given the way he burst onto the scene.