Reports: Southampton want Gabbiadini to solve their goalscoring problems

Reports: Southampton want Gabbiadini to solve their goalscoring problems

With just two recognised strikers at manager Claude Puel's disposal, the Saints may turn to Italy to bolster their attacking options.

Kit Shepard

Despite strong interest from Everton, it appears Southampton are now favourites to sign Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini.

Reports from Italy suggest that the Saints have emerged as the front-runners in the pursuit for the Italian, offering £15.5 million to bring him to the South Coast this January. However, they will have to fight off bids from other clubs in order to get their man.

Problems up front

Following the sale of Graziano Pelle in the summer and the subsequent failure to replace him before the summer transfer window slammed shut, Southampton were left with just three genuine strikers for the new season; Charlie Austin, Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez

Although the arrivals of attackers Nathan Redmond and Sofiane Boufal strengthened the Saints' squad, the lack of true firepower up top was always going to be an issue for manager Claude Puel, especially since Southampton would have to cope with European football in the coming season, as well as the packed domestic schedule.

And as expected, it wasn't too long before Southampton's lack of depth in the striker position was exposed. Although Austin has performed well so far this season, finding the net nine times, he has received little support from the few fellow goal scorers he has. Long is yet to score this season, and despite finding his feet with a brace in the victory over Bournemouth last week, Rodriguez's poor finishing has cost the Saints on a number of occasions.

Popular opinion is that if Southampton could sort out their issues up front, there is no limit to how far they can go. Despite sitting in a respectable eighth place in the Premier League, the Saints have the worst shot conversion rate in the Premier league, scoring with just 9.3% of their efforts. What's more, a dislocated shoulder to Austin at the start of December has left Rodriguez and Long, who have just four goals between them all season, to lead the line on their own for the foreseeable future. 

Whichever way one looks at it, Southampton are in desperate need of another striker.

Jay Rodriguez's poor form in front of goal has been a feature throughout Southampton's season so far. Photo: Getty.

The solution

That elusive striker has perhaps been found, in the shape of Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini. The 25-year-old has struggled to cement his place in manager Maurizio Sarri's team, and it appears both the player and the club are open to a move away.

Despite Everton being the favourites to bring the Italian to England for several weeks, Tutto Napoli are now claiming that he will be heading to the South Coast, with Southampton offering £15.5 million to bring Gabbiadini to St Mary's.

While Gabbiadini is more of a creative forward, not the trademark goal scorer that Southampton would ideally want quantity, not quality, is what the Saints are after in the attacking department at the moment.

Gabbiadini is out of favour in Naples. Photo: Getty.

Foreign Competition

Although Southampton are the best poised of any Premier League team to sign Gabbiadini, they face a battle with German side Wolfsburg for him.

The Bundesliga club, who are currently in 13th at the halfway stage of their season, have allegedly also bid £15.5 million for the striker's services, meaning it will be down to the player himself where he goes.

Southampton will be hoping that the natural lure of the Premier League will be the crucial factor in Gabbiadini's decision, as reinforcements up front are a necessity for the club this January.

Bundesliga side Wolfsburg also want Gabbiadini. Photo: Getty.