Southampton must hold firm on Gabbiadini’s future as Fiorentina target the striker

Southampton forward Manolo Gabbiadini has emerged as a potential January exit, as reports in Corriere dello Sport suggests Fiorentina manager Stefano Pioli may move for the striker.

What’s the word?

Corriere dello Sport believes that Pioli considers the Saints’ striker a potential replacement for veteran forward Cyril Thereau, as the 35-year-old may be sold in the mid-season window.

Other targets include Besiktas forward Ryan Babel and Lyon youngster Martin Terrier, but Gabbiadini is looked at as someone with a proven goal-scoring record in Serie A.

TuttoMercatoWEB also understands Sampdoria are pressing for the striker’s presence as it aims for the Europa League, and could look to bring the Southampton man back to Genoa on loan in January.

The 26-year-old’s £33,500-a-week salary that runs until 2021, as TuttoMercatoWEB reports, is however believed to be a sticking point in Sampdoria’s quest to lure Gabbiadini back to his former club, having played at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris between 2013 and 2015.

The Italian, now valued by TransferMarkt at £10.8million, enjoyed his best days in front of goal while at Sampdoria, netting 19 times in 50 games, seven more than he has managed at St Mary’s in five more games.

Why should Hughes keep him?

While Gabbiadini has failed to establish his presence on the south coast since arriving from Napoli in January 2017 for £15m, the striker offers a key alternative to Danny Ings, Charlie Austin and Shane Long.

The 6 foot 1 attacker can also fill in on the wing, where he featured last Saturday against Watford, and scored the team’s only goal with a low driven effort.

Recent injuries to Ings and Long also highlight how key it is for Southampton to retain further options up front with Austin without a goal in nine games, and the Italian is capable of playing a number two role at the top of the pitch to link play.