Southampton swoop for Feyenoord frontman Graziano Pelle
Southampton, 11/8 with Coral to make a top 10 Premier League finish, have signed Italian striker Graziano Pelle from new manager Ronald Koeman’s former club Feyenoord for an undisclosed fee.
The 28-year-old has penned a three-year contract with the Saints. “This is going to be the best choice for me because the club wants to keep improving every year,” he said upon signing.
“I had Graziano in my team for my last two years at Feyenoord,” Koeman added. “He scored a lot of goals – more than 50 in two seasons – and they brought a lot of points to the club. Goals mean points, and we needed a good player in that position after Rickie Lambert left.
“In terms of his qualities, he’s a tall striker with a lot of movement and he’s fast. He’s a player who gives confidence to the team because he keeps the ball, and he’s very dangerous in front of goal.”
Pelle is likely to have a leading role from the off at Southampton. Top scorer from 2013/14 Jay Rodriguez is out with a serious knee injury until the autumn at the earliest.
Argentine-born Italy international Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, meanwhile, is reportedly training alone in pre-season following his return from a loan spell at Juventus. It is understood he is not part of Koeman’s plans. Osvaldo was infamously involved in a training ground bust-up with defender Jose Fonte last winter.
That leaves Billy Sharp, who has spent the last two seasons on temporary stints with Nottingham Forest, Reading and former club Doncaster Rovers, as the only other senior first-team striker at Saints.
Zambia forward Emmanuel Mayuka is back from a spell at Sochaux, while teenager Sam Gallagher had some first-team exposure towards the back end of last season.
Pelle is the second summer arrival at St Mary’s as Koeman has already captured Serbia attacking midfielder Dusan Tadic for a fee of around £10m from Eredivisie outfit Twente. They will both link up in a new-look attack at Saints, which is 66/1 to fire the club into the top four.