Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Italian international forward Manolo Gabbiadini joined League Cup finalists Southampton on Tuesday for a fee believed to be around £14.5million (16.8m euros, $18.2m) from Serie A side Napoli.
The 25-year-old — scorer of 58 goals in 215 appearances in Italy — signed a four-and-a-half-year contract and will the club hopes supply goals that have been largely lacking since Charlie Austin suffered a shoulder injury.
The six-times capped Gabbiadini, who has had spells with Atalanta, Sampdoria and Bologna, said he was fulfilling a boyhood dream by playing in England.
“I am very, very happy,” Gabbiadini told the club website.
“Since I was a kid, one of my dreams was to perform in one of the biggest leagues in the world, so now that it’s happening I can’t wait to start playing.
“The facilities that I have seen here are an incredible level – top-level standards even for Serie A. These are the sort of facilities that make you want to come here and perform as soon as possible,” added Gabbiadini.
He is the third Italian to play for Saints and the club will be hoping it is more like the happy experience of Graziano Pelle not the volatile one endured with Dani Osvaldo.
Les Reed, Southampton Executive Director of Football, said it was a bit of a coup for the club, who last week celebrated reaching the League Cup final by seeing off Liverpool.
“We are delighted to have secured the signing of Manolo Gabbiadini, ahead of a number of other clubs who were interested in him,” said Reed.
“We have followed his progress for a significant amount of time and have worked hard behind the scenes to agree a deal for him this month.
“At the age of 25, we believe Manolo can play an important part in the remainder of the season, while still having his best years ahead of him.
“(club manager) Claude Puel’s reputation for developing young players also makes this an ideal place in which he can take the next step in his career.”