According to Italian media outlet Calciomercato, Southampton striker Manolo Gabbiadini is likely to leave the club and return to Serie A this summer, with a report by La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Calciomercato, saying that he would cost in the region of €15m (around £13m) this summer.
While it would be no surprise to see the Italy international depart St Mary’s in some ways given that he found first-team starts hard to come by during the 2017/18 campaign under Mauricio Pellegrino and then Mark Hughes, in others it would be confusing after he hinted previously that he would be keen to stay in the Premier League after helping Saints, who face a huge battle to sign an attacker who was once a £170,000-a-week Manchester United target, preserve their top flight status with a crucial winning goal against fellow strugglers Swansea City last month.
So, how would cashing in on the Italian truly impact Saints? Football FanCast take a look at the potential consequences of a summer sale of the 26-year-old…
If Southampton do end up cashing in on Gabbiadini this summer they will surely always be left thinking, what if?
The 26-year-old made a huge impact when he first joined the club in January 2017 – and was unfortunate not to score a hat-trick for them in the League Cup final defeat against Manchester United – but there is surely a feeling that they haven’t seen or got the best out of a player with such clever movement and natural finishing ability.
The Italian joined the south coast outfit at a time when they have been less attacking and lacked quality in the final third than in previous seasons, and the Saints board will know that things could have been very different.
Southampton didn’t meet Spartak Moscow’s price tag for the highly-rated Netherlands international at the end of the January transfer window, and it remains to be seen whether they will return to sign the 26-year-old this summer.
It would certainly make sense given they only scored 37 goals in their 38 Premier League matches as they narrowly avoided the drop however, with the winger scoring 21 goals and providing a further 10 assists in the same number of games for the Russian club in the 2017/18 campaign.
The extra money they get from selling Gabbiadini could be enough for them to meet Spartak’s asking price for the attacker, who would surely be a big success at St Mary’s and in the English top flight in general.
The big centre-forward is still only 22 years of age, but having made his first-team debut for Southampton when Mauricio Pochettino was still in charge at St Mary’s, he will have been disappointed that he hasn’t kicked on since then.
The striker returns to the south coast this summer following a largely successful season-long loan spell with Championship club Birmingham City – for whom he scored seven goals in 34 appearances in all competitions – last term, and he will hope to stake his claim for a spot in the starting XI under Mark Hughes.
Gabbiadini leaving would certainly help him that respect as it would be one less player to get ahead of in the pecking order, and with Guido Carrillo also frozen out by Hughes at the end of the 2017/18 campaign he may find himself directly competing with the likes of Charlie Austin and Shane Long.
So, Southampton fans, should your club sell Gabbiadini? Let us know by voting below…