The Italian 24-year-old striker has had a very rough 2 years at Napoli. When will it be last chance saloon for Manolo at the Partenopei?
When Napoli first bought Manolo Gabbiadini from Sampdoria in the winter of 2015, there was a lot of hope and optimism surrounding the then 22 year old striker. Ever since that half year stint with Rafa Benitez’s Napoli, Manolo Gabbiadini’s form has stagnated to the point where even the fans are getting frustrated with the player’s performances.
Now, it wouldn’t be fair to criticize Manolo on his very limited minutes on the pitch in the 2015-2016 Serie A campaign as it would be that year where Gonzalo Higuain would net 36 goals, a Serie A all-time record. Therefore, not even Superman could have kept Higuain off the pitch.
Thus, we are left with a Higuain-less Napoli in this 2016-2017 Serie A season. Due to the fact El Pipita moved to Serie A rivals Juventus, Napoli are left with newly purchased and recently injured Arkadiusz Milik, and none other than Manolo Gabbiadini to fill the vacant striker role at Napoli. With Higuain’s departure, now was the time where Gabbiadini was supposed to be the main man at the Southern giants. Instead, it has been Arek Milik who has taken all the spotlight with his incredible start to life in Naples, scoring 7 goals in 9 games.
Despite Milik’s flying start, Gabbiadini has still been given ample opportunity to impress in the ‘9’ role Sarri employs into his attack. Everyone expected Milik to take time to adapt to the Italian game and for Gabbiadini to be the undisputed starter, however it has been the polar opposite since the Pescara game in late August.
Gabbiadini put in a dreadful first half performance in that match and was rightly substituted for Milik which then gave Napoli the 2-2 draw. His chances to impress did not end there, as he also appeared in matches against Bologna, Chievo, Roma and Besiktas, having only scored 2 goals, one being from a penalty.
His most recent chance came against bottom-feeders Crotone, whom have been dubbed the ‘worst Serie A side in recent memory’. All it took was 30 minutes for Gabbiadini to lose his cool and get sent off, creating even more problems for his team as he has been given a two match ban. That two match ban will see him miss matches against Empoli and none other than table-toppers Juventus.
Will the Crotone match prove to be Gabbiadini’s last chance to show Sarri he is capable of leading the line for Napoli? It certainly could be, acts like the one which saw Manolo get sent off do not sit lightly with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis. It is entirely possible Manolo gets sold in January so as to salvage any lost market value Gabbiadini still has.
Over the past few transfer market windows, reported offers from the Bundesliga and the English Premier League came pouring in for Manolo. The amount offered each time varied anywhere from €25m-€30m. Napoli will have a lot of thinking to do if another offer of that magnitude were to come in during the January transfer window, where Napoli will have the chance to replace Gabbiadini with other promising strikers. Some names being thrown around have been Sassuolo’s Gregoire Defrel and a return for Udinese’s Duvan Zapata.
Thus, the question still persists, does Manolo Gabbiadini still have a shot at convincing both Maurizio Sarri and Aurelio De Laurentiis to keep him on at Napoli at least until the summer? Could it be Gabbiadini is playing out of position? Has he been given enough time on the pitch to fully come to a conclusion? Let us know where you stand on Manolo Gabbiadini’s current Napoli situation.