Dani Osvaldo failed to return to Saints for pre-season training yesterday due to medical reasons.
The Italian striker, who left the club under a cloud in January after a training ground bust up with Jose Fonte, didn’t show up at Staplewood for Ronald Koeman’s first day with his new squad, having informed the club that he would be absent due to illness.
The Daily Echo understands Osvaldo’s absence has been backed up by a doctor’s note and that Saints are satisfied with the reason for Osvaldo’s no-show.
It is unclear when he will return for duty.
The current break could well be a welcome impasse for the player and club.
It either gives Koeman time to establish whether it will be possible to try and reintegrate Osvaldo or, more likely, give Saints further breathing space to try and manufacture a move for the man who last summer became their record signing.
Italian media have reported that Inter Milan are making Osvaldo one of their top attacking targets as they aim to reinforce their striking department ahead of the new Serie A campaign.
There they will aim to try wrestle the title off of Juventus, where Osvaldo spent the end of last season on loan after being bombed out by Saints.
Away from the focus on Osvaldo and the club’s trio of departed stars, the mood was good amongst the players who met Koeman for the first time.
It was very much a ‘getting to know you day’ in the sunshine, and not just for the first team, as the squad enjoyed training on the beautiful new pitch at the upgraded Staplewood training ground.
The coaching staff for the new season are also trying to bond and build relationships.
Koeman was able to bring two members of staff in with him when he joined, and selected his brother Erwin and Jan Kluitenberg.
Saints, whose football side is headed up by Les Reed, have then added Sammy Lee and Dave Watson to the coaching staff.
In addition, under-21 coach Martin Hunter has been promoted to a position of the club’s technical director.