Aug 16, 2013, 7:40 AM EDT
This morning reports continue to surface that fiery Italian striker Pablo Osvaldo is joining the Saints.
With AS Roma’s president spotted in London over the past few days, rumor has it that a deal for Osvaldo was struck between the Serie A club and Premier League Southampton.
Osvaldo, 27, has been chased by plenty of top clubs across Europe and last month Fulham and Tottenham were extremely interested in bringing the Argentinian born Italian international star to England. Spurs are still said to be interested, but Saints have reportedly jumped ahead.
Now Mauricio Pochettino’s men are ready to pounce.
Southampton have been interested in Osvaldo for quite some time. But that feeling has been mutual. It seems as though the Italian international was waiting for a better offer to come along, yet that hasn’t happened after Saint showed plenty of interest earlier this summer.
They will be hoping to get him on board, after strengthening both their defense and midfield with two major signings this summer. Croatian international Dejan Lovren joined for $13.5 million from Lyon, while Celtic’s highly-rated Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama joined for a club record $19 million. Adding Osvaldo would give Southampton a new spine from front to back, they badly want to push up the league this season.
Pochettino knows Osvaldo well from his time coaching La Liga outfit Espanyol. The bullish forward helped spearhead the Spanish sides attack and after falling out of favor in Rome, a fresh move away from Italian soccer could be just what he needs.
But Osvaldo comes with a lot of baggage. After fighting with teammates for penalties, getting his car vandalized by fans, hitting out at previous clubs and publicly criticizing managers is just the tip of the iceberg of his questionable behavior.
Osvaldo’s latest antics are why he is heading out of Roma. He was left on the bench for Roma’s biggest game in years, a Rome Derby in the Coppa Italia final in May against their bitter rivals Lazio. Following Roma’s loss, Osvaldo refused to get his runners-up medal and insulted interim manager Aurelio Andreazzoli before punching an advertisement board used for post-match TV interviews.
However, he has previously stated his respect for Pochettino’s methods and credits him for helping to kick start his career. In his first four years in Serie A, Osvaldo scored 16 goals in 77 games. Not a great return. But during his time playing under his fellow Argentine at Espanyol, Osvaldo scored 20 league goals in 44 games.
That propelled him to Roma and he’s scored 28 goals in 57 games since joining them two season ago in 2011.
Southampton could certainly do with another striker. They really only have Rickie Lambert to lead the line as they aim to make the top 10 in the Premier League. If anything happened to Lambert, it would be a tricky situation.
If Osvaldo does join and Pochettino could sort his head out, then what a tremendous talent the Saints would have. Strong, dynamic, willing to run through a brick wall for the cause and a great finisher, Osvaldo would compliment Lambert superbly.
And I mentioned that Osvaldo was a fan of Pochettino. I’ll leave you with what the Italian international had to say about his training methods. Seems like he likes Pochettino… I think.
“At times you want to kill him simply because he makes you suffer like a dog. But in the end you get the right results.”
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