Scouting Network – Manolo Gabbiadini
Scouting Network identifies young players under the age of 21 who have exceptional talent and could be one of the leading players of the future. This month GoaldenTimes profiles Manolo Gabbiadini
Manolo Gabbiadini is an up and coming Italian striker who plays for Atalanta. Manolo is the younger brother of Melanie Gabbiadini who is an Italian international and has won 3 Scudetti, 3 Italian Super Cups, and 2 Italian Cups. When asked to comment on her brother’s potential, she said, “He’s a very good striker. He’s tall, he’s quick and he has a great left foot.” If you were transported 15 years back and somebody said the same thing about a striker who plays for Atalanta, you would immediately utter the name of Christian Vieri. The resemblance becomes clearer when you note that Vieri did come to play a season with Atalanta in 2008-09 and young Manolo may have come in close contact with him as he was in the Atalanta youth system at the time.
He made his Serie A debut at the age of 18 for Atalanta in 2010. That season though Atalanta would be relegated to Serie B and Manolo would move to Cittadella on loan. The 2010-11 season would be one of apprenticeship in Serie B and Manolo would play 29 times for Cittadella, notching up 5 goals and 4 assists. His exposure would hold him good as Atalanta, who had gained promotion to the top division, would recall Manolo to the team.
In the 2011-12 season though, Manolo has struggled to hold on to a regular spot in the Atalanta first XI. He has played 9 times in the league and once in the Coppa with his sole goal coming in the Coppa. German Denis is the joint top scorer of the league and he has been ably supported by Maxi Moralez and Guido Marilungo, leaving Manolo to bit-part roles.
But his real progress has been evident in Ciro Ferrara’s Azzurrini (Italy U21) team. In 4 matches of the U21 European qualification, Manolo has scored 6 times with 2 assists to boot. This included a hat-trick against Liechtenstein and 2 goals against Hungary. He also provided both the assists in the top of the table clash with Turkey. Powered by his performances, the Azzurrini have a 100% record. Overall in 13 matches for the Azzurrini, Manolo has scored 10 times – a very handsome ratio by any standards and he became only the 9th Italian ever to reach double figures while playing for the Azzurrini and some of those names have gone on to become legends of Italian football – Andrea Pirlo, Christian Vieri (that man again), Gianluca Vialli among them. Manolo though has his head about him. There have been transfer rumours of reported interest from Juventus but seeing how he is struggling to hold on a place in Atalanta, he would rather fight it out at Bergamo than look for a move to Turin. If Denis continues his scoring spree for Atalanta, Manolo might be well served to have a loan season tucked in to keep his good form for the Azzurrini reflected in the league too. A move down to Serie B would not harm either.
In effect, Manolo is one of the archetypical Italian bombers who have the feet and the head to engage the defence on his own and score goals. A bit more tactical awareness and off-the-ball movement along with some much needed playing time would boost him up to realising some of the potential that he has shown and get him towards matching his sister’s medals tally.