SAINTS have again been linked with a shock move for free agent Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero.

Reports in Italy claim the club have offered the former Juventus star a contract to move to St Mary’s.

The 37-year-old appeared to be joining Australian side FC Sydney last week, but that deal has yet to be formalised.

World Cup winner Del Piero is also said to be attracting interest from Celtic, Portuguese side Braga and Swiss outfit Sion.

Saints manager Nigel Adkins has already seen his attacking options significantly bolstered this summer, with the signings of Jay Rodriguez , Emmanuel Mayuka and Gaston Ramirez.

“We’re a newly-promoted football club, the chairman’s done great, we’ve just bought a few more players in the transfer window,” he said.

Adkins was understandably more concerned about defensive issues after yesterday’s dramatic 3-2 home loss to Manchester United than he was his forward line.

The Saints boss was frustrated at how his side failed to deal with two deliveries into the box in the dying minutes that led to a pair of Robin van Persie goals and a complete change in the result.

Firstly, an unmarked Rio Ferdinand was allowed to head Rafael’s cross against a post, with the rebound falling to Van Persie, who equalised with three minutes left.

Then, in the second minute of added time, the Dutchman was afforded too much room at the near post by Jose Fonte , ruthlessly punishing Saints by flicking in Nani’s corner to complete his hat-trick.

“There’s two free headers inside our penalty area,” said Adkins.

“You’ve got to defend your goal better than that.”

He added: “The last goal, we’ve got to go and defend and attack that ball better.

“At the end of the day they’ve got two first contacts on the ball from crosses into the box and that’s the annoying thing.”

Adkins insisted there were plenty of positives to take from yesterday’s defeat, despite its heartbreaking nature.

But he said Saints must now start turning performances into points.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position to pick up points again and unfortunately we haven’t done,” he said.

“Two good goals we’ve scored, played some good football at times, the atmosphere in here was bouncing, but we haven’t picked any points up.

“We knew that the opening fixtures would teach us a lot about the Premier League and they certainly have.

“To play Manchester City away and play Manchester United and go and score goals against them is the pleasing thing.

“So we know we’ve got goals in the team.

“What we’ve got to do is make sure we put ourselves in a position defensively to keep more clean sheets, because you’re going to get punished at this high a level.”