According to reports in England, West Bromwich Albion are thought to be keen on signing Napoli’s out-of-favour striker Manolo Gabbiadini.
Gabbiadini had a stellar showing at Serie A side Sampdoria during the first half of the 2014-15 season, where he scored an impressive nine goals in 17 appearances. This prompted then Napoli manager Rafa Benitez to make a move for the striker in the January transfer window. Gabbiadini would score 11 more goals for his new club before the season came to a close.
But ever since Benitez left, Gabbiadini struggled to make his mark at the Stadio San Paolo. He only scored nine goals in 30 matches for Napoli last season, and just a measly four in 18 this season.
Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis, understandably, is disappointed at the Italian centre-forward, who has clearly found himself out-of-sorts under new manager Mauricio Sarri.
“Gabbiadini scored a lot of goals at Sampdoria and also here under Rafael Benitez, so with a different system to the one Sarri uses, he should have a better chance of being decisive,” Napoli owner De Laurentiis recently told Radio Kiss Kiss
West Brom fans, of course, may well be blasé at best that their club is keen on snapping up such an out-of-form striker. However, while Gabbiadini’s performance at Napoli was disappointing, he may well be a delight under West Brom manager Tony Pulis, and here’s why.
Napoli tend to play a possession-based style of play with short passing and intricate run-ins, something Gabbiadini simply wasn’t used to. During his time at Sampdoria, he was accustomed to a more direct approach, with him as the focal point and main target man.
West Brom employ similar tactics with Sampdoria. The Baggies launch the ball forward in route one fashion, utilising their midfielders’ passing capabilities to bring the ball to the striker’s feet. Unfortunately for the English side, they aren’t doing well in the scoring department – they only have a 40% shot accuracy this season.
Gabbiadini can change all that. The Italian striker has had 74% of his shots on target this season, and this is him playing in a system he doesn’t feel comfortable with. Imagine he goes to the Hawthorns and plays under Pulis’ more direct approach, that accuracy percentage is going to go up – and West Brom will have for themselves a lethal striker capable of pressing defences.
Of course, Gabbiadini’s move to West Brom, should it happen, remains to be seen.