HE’S been a controversial figure in the past, but Mauricio Pochettino believes that Daniel Osvaldo is the man to help Saints to the next level.

To challenge for a European place via the league.

The club have invested heavily this summer, adding quality in the shape of Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama for a £20m total. But that pales compared to the £15m arrival of Osvaldo, smashing the club’s transfer record, taking their summer spending to £35m.

Osvaldo is hugely talented, but a reputation for getting into the odd scrape would put off some managers. Not Poch.

He knows the player well from their time together at Espanyol and clearly believes this is what Saints are missing. Whether it is in harmony with Rickie Lambert, or ultimately in direct competition with the big striker remains to be seen.

Supporters might remember the forward’s quote about the training methods of Pochettino, above, widely republicised following his appointment at St Mary’s.

“He makes you work like a dog. Sometimes you feel like killing him, but it works,” said Osvaldo.

Although Roma paid Espanyol about £15m for him two years ago, and despite Osvaldo enjoying a productive season last term, he has endured a rocky relationship with the supporters and the club hierarchy.

Recently, he insulted Roma caretaker manager Aurelio Andreazzoli after only being used as a late substitute in the 1-0 defeat to arch rivals Lazio in the Coppa Italia final. His outburst led to his exclusion from the Italian squad.

Shortly after his arrival at Roma, he was accused of hitting teammate Erik Lamela after being upset that he had not passed him the ball.

His bad-boy image is not helped by six dismissals in the past three seasons, for both club and country. It has also helped sour his relationship with the Roma crowd.

He has drawn the fans’ ire, most recently when he wrestled the ball from Roma captain and legend Francesco Totti in order to take a penalty against Sampdoria, only to miss as his side lost 3-1. His car was pelted with rubbish and eggs.

But his 17 goals in 31 appearances for Roma last season speak of a player with an impressive eye for goal. He has also struck three times for Italy in their World Cup qualifying campaign and has been capped eight times.

Osvaldo began his career with Argentine side Huracán, before moving to Italy, with Atalanta, in 2006. After a spell at Lecce, he was sold to Fiorentina and then Bologna, joining Espanyol in 2010.