Date: 1st February 2017 at 8:08pm
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Charlie Nichols thinks that the deadline day deal to sign Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli was a masterstroke.

Despite reaching the final of the EFL Cup there have been signs that Southampton could be losing their way this season.

The departure of Jose Fonte and ankle injury to Virgil van Dijk were two crushing blows as Claude Puel tries to consolidate on last season’s high finish.

With Charlie Austin on the long term injury list the need for a striker was obvious with Nicholas believing that signing the former Napoli man could turn out to be a master-stroke.

The former Arsenal striker told Sky Sports: “I was slightly disappointed with them – until they signed Gabbiadini, because they needed a forward. Jose Fonte leaving was a big one because he’s a leader.

But they’ve held on to Virgil van Dijk, that’s a huge positive. A replacement goalkeeper makes sense too.”

Much will depend on how Southampton cope with a new look back four with van Dijk likely to be out of action until April.

Puel has demonstrated that he knows what is required to build and maintain a successful team with the signing of Gabbiadini giving everyone at the club a big lift.

After losing heavily to Arsenal in the FA Cup and away to Swansea it’s important for Southampton to quickly find their form with goals coming from their star signing from Napoli.

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