Saints have signalled their intent to secure their European dream this season by smashing the club’s transfer record to bring in Pablo Daniel Osvaldo for £15m.

The long running pursuit of the 27-year-old Italian international striker, pictured, was brought to an end last night when Roma accepted Saints’ offer of €15.1m plus €2m in add-ons - a total that could reach nearly £15m - and Osvaldo penned a four-year contract reported to be worth £10m to the player.

Osvaldo will immediately be in direct competition with star striker Rickie Lambert, who has proved his worth yet again over the past week with a debut goal for England and the winner as Saints defeated West Brom 1-0 in their opening game of the season.

However, competition for Lambert’s place, or just an alternative option to the talismanic striker, has been thin on the ground and Osvaldo brings that and then some.

Osvaldo has proved a controversial figure in the past but worked well under Mauricio Pochettino when the pair were together at Espanyol.

Osvaldo had initially been reluctant to move to Saints, with the Italian press reporting he preferred to stay in Italy or switch to London.

But it seems the lure of Pochettino, and an improved contract offer which is being said to earn him about £50,000-a-week, has persuaded him to move to St Mary’s.

The massive fee breaks the club record of £12m, paid for both Gaston Ramirez and Victor Wanyama, and again acts as a statement to the rest of the division that Saints intend to go places and challenge towards the top of the league.