A FINE LINE...
He seems to have it all - long hair, Alice band, designer specs, bling, tattoos and at first glance you might take him for Cap`n Jack Sparrow taking time off from the set of Johhny Depp`s latest blockbuster. But no. This is Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, just signed by Southampton Football Club from AS Roma on a four year contract for a reported fee of £15million.
He becomes the latest expensive foreign import to St. Mary`s, following the arrival of Victor Wanyama from Celtic and Dejan Lovren from Lyon, bringing the Saints` spending so far in the cattle market of the transfer window to £36million, with only Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur spending more.
At his welcoming press conference today, Osvaldo confirmed that he agreed to join the Saints because they had shown most interest in him; he had worked with head coach Mauricio Pochettino previously at Espanyol and knew just what a super manager he was; it was always his dream to play in the Premier League; (and he really didn`t mind moving to Southampton from the eternal city and playing at the 32,000 seater St. Mary`s Stadium instead of the 82,000 Stadio Olympico - honest.)
What`s intriguing is that all this investment is happening at the same time as another group of talented young players emerge from the Saints` Academy which has already produced the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Now we are seeing the emergence of Luke Shaw, Callum Chambers and James Ward-Prowse, all aged 18 and all in the starting line-up for Saturday`s win away at West Brom. And as there are yet more on the launchpad of the Academy ready to lift off into the Premier League, it will be instructive to see how this blend of home grown young English players and expensive foreign imports gel as a team.
Maybe they will learn from each other - from your pupils you`ll be taught and all that. Now I think it was Aristotle who said that there was a fine line between genius and madness and so it will be equally instructive to see just how Saints Executive Chairman Don Nicola Cortese`s strategy for the development of the club evolves. It can equally be a disaster or a triumph and with Cap`n Jack on board it could go either way. For us Saints fans, life has never been easy, nothing has ever been settled, uncertainty has always ruled and anxiety has been our default condition.....but at least it`s never dull.