Today the rags have linked us with Juventus-owned striker Manolo Gabbiadini. The 21 year-old, currently on International duty with the Italian U-21s, had a decent season on loan at Bologna last year, scoring 6 goals in Serie A. Supposedly Spurs scouts were at Italy's match against England to keep an eye on the young striker.
Name: Manolo Gabbiadini
Team: Juventus, Atalanta, and Bologna (it's complicated).
League: Serie A
Can also play: Wide forward
Manolo Gabbiadini made his debut for Serie A side Atalanta in 2010 at the age of 18. A favorite of Ciro Ferrara, then-manager of the Italian U-21 side, 2011 saw the young forward bag 10 goals in 13 games for the U-21s. On the back of his fine performances for the national side, the youth International earned himself a move to Juventus. Sort of. Because nothing in that godforsaken country is ever simple, last year Juventus paid €5.5 million for half of his rights in a co-ownership deal, including the right to dictate his disposal. They promptly sent the youngster on loan to Bologna who at the time were in need of striking options.
Unfortunately, the arrival of Alberto Gilardino pushed Gabbiadini down the pecking order, and the young Italian struggled for minutes over the first half of the season. Fortunately for Gabbiadini, threats from his parent club to recall the player encouraged Bologna to change its mind. He made his first start for the Rossoblu at the end of October, and since then became a regular fixture in the side. Mostly deployed as a wide forward, he showed the versatility and maturity to succeed in wide positions on both flanks (though he was mostly used on the left) even though his natural position is through the middle.
Gabbiadini is a lanky 6'1, but his thin frame belies his strength. He's a strong and athletic player who provides an aerial threat as well as one on the ground. He's a technical player with a good first touch and a strong finish with his favored left foot. He's currently with the Italian U-21 side at the European Championship, though Italy is flush with talented youth in his position right now, and Gabbiadini is competing for spots with the likes of Mattia Destro, Ciro Immobile, and Lorenzo Insigne.
Likely price: €6 million, according to TransferMarkt.
Probability that valuation is wrong: 100%. Juventus paid almost that much for only a half interest in his ownership, there's zero chance he goes for that much if he's sold. €11m is the bare minimum for Juve and Atalanta to break even on the transfer fee, and he'll likely go for more. Think closer to €14-15m.
Team's willingness to sell: Low. Juventus have plenty of money and no need to sell one of their promising young players. Juventus view him as part of their long term plans and have taken a very active interest in his development at Bologna. Juventus can afford to loan him out another year to see how he progresses, and will almost certainly do so.
Fit at Tottenham Hotspur: Very good. He fits the bill of a young developing striker to go along with a veteran purchase like David Villa. Although he has less experience than commentariat favorites Pierre-Emmerick Aubamayeng and Son Heung-Min, he provides a similar versatility and has excellent ability.
Possibility he ends up at Spurs: Low. I think he'd be an excellent long-term option for the club, but Juventus have no reason to sell. Expect to see him on loan to a midtable club in Italy next year while Juventus salivates greedily in the corner.
Grade if this transfer goes through at likely price: B+.Gabbiadini would be an excellent investment for Spurs if he lives up to his potential. Which is always an if. And the transfer fee for one so young and still unproven is a danger for a club on a budget like Spurs. Also, his physicality, while suitable for Serie A, is always a concern with players moving to England. Still, his technique and finishing ability are undeniable, and in a few years could well be the next big thing. Paying £12m today instead of waiting to buy a striker in his prime later for £25m is exactly the kind of move Spurs needs to make to be competitive with richer clubs.