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Manolo Gabbiadini's arrival could get Saints pulses racing amid dour season

Southampton fans, not to mention their players, could be forgiven for running for cover at the mere mention of the arrival of a big-money striker from Serie A.

After all, despite being heralded as one of the most exciting signings in the club's history, Dani Osvaldo made more of an impression on Jose Fonte's face than for anything he did on the pitch following his club-record move from Roma. Osvaldo cost a total of £25 million in transfer payments and wages for a Saints career lasting just 166 days and memorable only, the vicious training ground assault on then-captain Fonte apart, for a wonder goal against Manchester City.

But far from being perturbed by the ill-fated Osvaldo experiment, the St Mary's power brokers have sanctioned another expensive import from Italy in the form of Manolo Gabbiadini, a £14.5m transfer deadline day capture from Napoli.

Like Osvaldo, Gabbiadini arrives on the south coast needing to rebuild his reputation after a largely underwhelming stint in Naples, even being booed off by his own fans during a recent game. But whereas Osvaldo was an accident waiting to happen -- his tendency for getting himself embroiled in dressing-room bust-ups and other off-the-pitch indiscretions was well known long before he pitched up in the Premier League -- the Gabbiadini-Southampton partnership could be a marriage made in heaven.

The Saints faithful have been crying out for a new hero to bestow their adulation upon following the exodus of a host of big names in recent years, including England duo Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert. Manager Claude Puel has become increasingly desperate to find someone to inject some much-needed dynamism into his goal-shy attack in the wake of the summer exits of Gabbiadini's fellow Italian Graziano Pelle and the quicksilver Sadio Mane.

Add in the fact Saints have looked toothless since the in-form Charlie Austin suffered a dislocated shoulder at the back end of last year and Puel's determination to land Gabbiadini after protracted negotiations is entirely understandable.

Director of football Les Reed and owner Katharina Liebherr were also under pressure to deliver the marque signing, which has been sadly lacking amid the wave of departures, particularly with the £50m-rated Virgil van Dijk almost certain to be sold to the highest bidder at the end of the season.

Despite his recent struggles, Gabbiadini's talent is undoubted and he still managed a more than satisfactory 24 goals in just 28 starts in his Napoli career. The feeling among seasoned Serie A observers is that Gabbiadini never fit into Napoli's playing style, with coach Maurizio Sarri preferring to set his side up with a lone striker.

Gabbiadini, who possesses all the key attributes of rocket pace, quick feet and a powerful left-footed shot, was at his best playing on the right side of a front three during his Sampdoria days, which makes him an ideal fit for the way Puel has opted to play in recent weeks.

The prospect of Gabbiadini and Dusan Tadic supporting Austin when the former QPR marksman returns to fitness is certainly one to get the fans' pulses racing after an at times dour season, with their stunning passage to the EFL Cup final a notable exception to what has become the tedious norm.

At 25, Gabbiadini's four-year contract, worth in the region of pound;40,000 a week, should coincide with the peak of his career. That is why Southampton are confident Gabbiadini can help them forget they ever set eyes on Osvaldo.