Saints have recovered most of the fee they paid for Manolo Gabbiadini after agreeing to sell the striker to Sampdoria for £12m.

Gabbiadini joined Saints in January 2017 for a fee of around £14m.

He had an instant impact, scoring six goals in his first four games for the club, including a brace in the EFL Cup final.

However, the scoring streak didn’t last, and Gabbiadini has struggled for goals ever since.

Indeed, he has netted just six times in 51 appearances since that hot spell, and has fallen out of favour with Claude Puel, Manuel Pellegrino, Mark Hughes and now Ralph Hasenhuttl.

With Saints looking to trim the squad and Gabbiadini a player that has constantly attracted some interest from Serie A clubs, the decision was made to cash in now, free up some space on the wage bill and bring in extra funds.

Hasenhuttl said: “If you are a new manager at a new club you get the first experience, first impressions of the player and it seems to me he is a good player with fantastic technique but with this intensive pressing system we try to play, to be honest, it’s not his way of playing.

“It was better to find a solution that is better for both sides.

“We can’t show him what he wants to see from us and he can’t bring what we want to see from him so it’s better to find a different solution.

“I think it’s a good step for him to go back to Italy and I wish him all the best.

“He’s a fantastic player and I am sure he can score goals at every club in the world and we go in different ways.”

With Steven Davis and Gabbiadini both having departed, Saints can give increased focus to bringing players in.

Hasenhuttl would like to get some business done early but is prepared to wait rather than be wasteful.

“It is better to make it as soon as possible but it’s not so easy in the winter transfer period,”n he said.

“We have very important games now we are facing and we have a good squad.

“We have problems with injury in the front but we don’t want to be hurried so take time, think about it, and if you are 100 per cent sure this guy makes us better then take the decision.”