Can Gabbiadini Fire Southampton to Success?

Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini joined Premier League club Southampton in January and immediately made an impact on the South Coast. The forward has had a productive pre-season and is aiming to help fire the Saints into the top six.

The former Napoli man appears to be enjoying life at St Mary's and has been out on the streets helping sell the Big Issue magazine alongside teammates Nathan Redmond and Oriol Romeu. The fans seem to have immediately taken to the big striker and he is hoping to put smiles on the faces of Saints supporters this season.

Injuries curtailed the latter part of his season as the goals dried up for the powerful frontman but he appears determined to make up for lost time. Since his £14.6million transfer from Napoli, he has mainly been deployed in a central position and hit six goals in his opening four games proving an instant hit with Southampton fans.

The 25-year-old has found the net in pre-season, scoring the opener against League Two Yeovil last month and also netting in an impressive 3-0 success over Ligue 1 outfit St Etienne.

Gabbiadini will be working under a new coach this season after Claude Puel was replaced by former Alaves boss Mauricio Pellegrino earlier this summer but it's been a mixed pre-season for the new man in charge. He admitted it's been a difficult month with various members of his squad returning from International duty at various junctures and he told the media he is still looking to add to his squad before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

Much of this summer's transfer talk has been dominated by the future of Virgil Van Dijk who has been heavily linked with a number of top six clubs in the Premier League. Pellegrino is believed to be already planning for life without the centre-half who is likely to leave St Mary's later this month.

Gabbiadini was helped by the injury to fellow striker Charlie Austin last season but both frontmen are now reported to be fit and raring to go ahead of the new campaign and Pellegrino has been deploying them both in the warm-up matches.

Austin has been tasked with playing in a slightly deeper role behind the Italian. The former Burnley frontman finished as top scorer for the club with nine goals last year but both players will be aiming for at least double figures this time around.

The January signing is expected to have a prolific season on the South coast and has been priced up at 40/1 to be the division's top goalscorer in the Premier League betting markets. Southampton finished 8th last season and are looking to climb back into the top six with the help of Gabbiadini's firepower.

It's set to be an interesting first season under Mauricio Pellegrino who got the best out of his limited Alaves squad. Gabbiadini is set to play a huge part and fans will be hoping he can remain fit across the gruelling 38 game season. His link up play with Austin could be crucial to Southampton's success this campaign and he'll be looking to recapture his February form which saw him net in four consecutive matches.