It's an audacious effort from Mauricio Pochettino's team to leapfrog several phases of development, and adding an Italian international to a bustling squad of young talent is one hell of a way to send a message ahead of the coming season.
Roma have accepted Southampton's €18m bid for Pablo Osvaldo. via @CorSport— Matteo Bonetti (@TheMilanGuy) August 15, 2013
The price is high, no question, and his wages will be relatively taxing on Nicola Cortese's bill: The former Huracan star earns approximately £60,000 per week.
His antics, too, bring the wisdom of the deal into question, but here we will focus purely on how Osvaldo will fit in at St Mary's Stadium from a tactical point of view.
The lowdown on Osvaldo
Like many strikers, Osvaldo has been something of a journeyman in his career to date.
He's an extremely versatile option, who can play up front on his own, in a strike partnership, or on either flank. His preference is to play as a lone striker, arriving late in the box and becoming the primary outlet for his team.
At Roma, Francesco Totti occupied the false-nine/deep-lying forward role all season, with both Osvaldo and Erik Lamela cutting in with deadly effect from the flanks.
He combined fantastic technique with a well-rounded physical presence and a predatory eye for the golden finish. He scored 16 goals from 25 starts in Serie A last season.
However, Osvaldo wasn't a key player, and after being dropped from the first XI for the Giallorossi's 1-0 Coppa Italia defeat to Lazio last season, threw quite the tantrum.
Some believe his stay in Rome is finished, with that being his final, costly act. He wants to be No. 1, the go-to guy, and Saints must be willing to offer him that if they want to contain his character.
Osvaldo at Saints
Southampton fans will be conflicted at the news of Osvaldo's potential arrival. While it's certainly a step up in quality, it will jeopardise the playing time of one of Adam Lallana, Gaston Ramirez and Jay Rodriguez.
With Lambert an immovable presence up front in the team, coupled with the fact Pochettino wouldn't be caught dead playing a 4-4-2, expect Osvaldo to play off one of the flanks in a Jay-Rod-esque role.
He combined extremely well with Totti last season, whose poked through-balls and clever lay-offs found Osvaldo time and space with which to torment defences.
He can strike up a similar sort of partnership with Lambert—not that we're comparing England's new one-cap hero to the legendary Roman—and play off his big frame and clever footballing brain to great effect.
Recruiting a new talismanic forward could also do wonders for the under-performing Gaston, whose confidence has taken a dive after shouldering the burden of a £15 million move last summer.
Saints have shown themselves adept at pressing, winning the ball high up and passing it around effortlessly. Osvaldo can contribute to this, but also offer a more direct edge should Pochettino look to use it.
Osvaldo at Saints is some statement of intent.