Saints’ players report back for their first day under new boss Ronald Koeman with bad boy Dani Osvaldo expected to be amongst them.
The 28-year-old Italian striker left the club at the end of January after a training ground bust up with Jose Fonte that left his teammate with a black eye.
But Osvaldo’s spell at Serie A champions Juventus didn’t end with the Italians taking up their option to sign the striker permanently, meaning he remains a Saints player.
As Osvaldo is a member of the first team squad and has not been involved in World Cup action, having been overlooked by his country, he is due back at Staplewood today.
Koeman officially started work as Saints boss yesterday to prepare for the return of his squad. Osvaldo’s reception will certainly be interesting following the headbutt incident that saw Saints left with little choice but to move him on, with Juventus taking him on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
Whether time has proved a healer or not will be interesting to see, as will Koeman’s attitude towards Osvaldo.
There is no doubting his talent, which is why Saints made him their club record signing last summer in a £12.9m deal that has the potential to rise to £14.6m.
However, he often seemed to be on the edge during matches, and his record was hardly startling, with three goals for Saints and a further three for Juventus last season probably being the chief reason he was left out of the Italy squad for Brazil.
Saints will probably have to take a cut in the price they paid for Osvaldo if they are to offload him this summer, or face the prospect of trying to reintegrate him into the dressing room so they can utilise his talents with creative forces like Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert having departed the club and Jay Rodriguez sidelined for several months of the new campaign as he recovers from an ACL reconstruction.
Osvaldo’s situation is just one of many that Koeman has to address, with star players departing, others keen to leave and new signings desperately needed as well as some much needed direction and stability for those that remain.
He will at least have state of the art facilities to work in as the players begin to use elements of the new Staplewood training ground, which has cost £30m to upgrade.