Napoli forward Manolo Gabbiadini has failed to secure a starting berth at the San Paolo, despite shining each time he has been afforded an opportunity.
Gabbiadini joined the Versuviani back in January, making an immediate impact with eight league goals in 20 Serie A appearances. Remarkably, only eight of those selections were from the start of proceedings.
He also struck twice in six Europa League outings for the Neapolitan giants, as they reached the semi-finals of the tournament.
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It seemed that whenever he was called upon by then-Napoli boss Rafa Benitez, he delivered with interest.
Then he embarked upon another season hoping for more involvement under a brand new coach in Maurizio Sarri, yet nothing has changed in terms of the bit-part role occupied by the Italian international.
Gabbiadini is a versatile player who can operate as a support striker, out-and-out centre forward, attacking midfielder and winger.
The 24-year-old is an intelligent performer, with his penchant for cutting inside from the flanks in order to get a shot goalward paying great dividends.
He was often utilised on the right-hand side under Benitez, but has been handed a back-up role for sensational goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain, in the process of posting a mere four starts this time around.
Attempting to displace one of the deadliest strikers in the world has proved impossible, while the form of fellow attacking talents Marek Hamsik, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon has made any effort to create a niche elsewhere on the pitch futile.
Bergamo native Gabbiadini has still managed to hit five goals in 13 all-competition appearances, which showcases his enduring ability to make a telling difference.
But, Napoli are in the hunt for what would be only their third Serie A title - largely without his influence - thus there is no sign that his personal situation will improve.
PLENTY OF INTEREST
Big guns Inter, Roma and Fiorentina have been linked with a permanent move for Gabbiadini, while alternatives Lazio, Genoa and Palermo would all reportedly prefer a loan deal in January.
Whether the player would like to remain in Naples until the end of the campaign to be part of their Scudetto push remains to be seen, but he’d almost certainly stroll into the lower-positioned sides currently eyeing his signature.
As for Roma, he’d provide strong competition for Bosnian international Edin Dzeko, who has flattered to deceive up front with just three goals this term.
In addition, the ex-Atalanta star would offer a significant threat on the right-hand side of attack for Fiorentina, who don’t currently possess such a potent option in that area.
Even at league leaders Inter, only Mauro Icardi has notched more than four Serie A strikes to date.
Should he choose to move on, there’ll obviously be no shortage of suitors, and he’ll almost certainly hit the back of the net with great regularity - if given a reasonable opportunity to contribute.
Gabbiadini would be a steal for any side, and he will one day force Napoli to rue leaving him out in the cold for so long.
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