Southampton have both flirted with relegation and vastly overperformed over the last ten years, with Manolo Gabbiadini having experienced both highs and lows whilst at St Mary’s.
A £15m January move was decidedly unexciting, but what was to come is the little bit of magic up top that Ralph Hasenhuttl could do with now.
He was only upstaged on his Wembley birth by the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose late winner truly stole the show.
In fact, the two were labelled as “perfect for English football” by one onlooker during the match.
Standing at 6 foot 1, he possessed wonderful feet and a sharp change of speed that helped him take English football by storm.
If he were to come in for the current Southampton side, the “clinical” talent – as dubbed by Puel – would act as a direct replacement for Armando Broja, who impressed last season on loan but ultimately was always going to return to Chelsea.
The Albanian was a force to be reckoned with on the south coast last term, scoring nine goals, and after finding the net just seven times so far this term, it’s clear the Saints are missing his influence. In a parallel universe where they still had Gabbiadini, however, they may be thriving.
It may have been short, but those first six months were exceptional and unfortunately never to be replicated.
Just 12 goals whilst at the club seems underwhelming given his two-and-a-half-year stint at the club, but the importance of those scored in his first half a season helped nearly clinch his club’s first major honour since 1976.
Having lacked obvious firepower this season, injecting the goal-scoring know-how of Gabbiadini could be the perfect final piece of the puzzle to the fine young squad Hasenhuttl has built.
His size and proficiency during that period would serve the current toothless side well now, which would certainly prevent Southampton from being anywhere near relegation.