Football

Ronald Koeman lures Graziano Pelle to Southampton

Pelle has reunited with former boss Koeman (©GettyImages)
Pelle has reunited with former boss Koeman (©GettyImages).

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has lured Italian goal machine Graziano Pelle away from Dutch giants Feyenoord, in order to fill the goalscoring void left by Rickie Lambert.

After a journeyman career around Serie A and Serie B, Pelle's career only began to lift off at 26-years-old whilst playing for Feyenoord on-loan from Parma.

Pelle scored 27 goals in 29 league appearances in the 2012/13 season, leading Koeman to sign him permanently.

Furthermore, his outstanding total left Pelle with the record for the most goals scored by an Italian in a foreign league during a single season.

Pelle eclipsed the goalscoring exploits of Luca Toni at Bayern Munich and Christian Vieri at Atletico Madrid.

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Pelle returned Koeman with another 23 goals in 28 appearances last season, leaving his overall Feyenoord tally at 55 goals in 66 appearances. However, prior to joining Feyenoord, Pelle's goalscoring record stood at 183 appearances and 35 goals.

He only managed to score goals whilst playing for Crotone, Cesena, AZ Alkmaar, Sampdoria and Parma. In fact, Pelle failed to score any whilst playing for Catania and his first ever club Lecce.

Nevertheless, Saints fans shouldn't feel disappointed at spending £8 million on Pelle, as Koeman is the master of exploiting and accentuating just how lethal Pelle is in front of goal.

Koeman reunion...

Koeman told BBC Sport: "We needed a good player in that position.

"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."

Evidently, Koeman has targeted players whom he knows can perform in the Eredivisie, after initially spending £10.9 million to capture FC Twente attacking-midfielder Dusan Tadic.

Pelle, who will be 29-years-old by the time he makes his Premier League debut at Anfield said: "This is going to be the best choice for me because the club wants to keep improving every year."

With Pelle's incredible Eredivisie record, follows a level of scepticism upon his expected Premier League goal return. Pelle will either be able to reciprocate the goal-scoring exploits of Wilfried Bony who scored 16 goals in his debut season, following an incredible 46 goals in 65 goals for Vitesse Arnhem.

Eredivisie record

Or he may emulate Bas Dost, who scored 32 goals in 34 matches during the 2011/12 season for Heerenveen, yet has only scored 12 goals in 41 appearances for Champions League chasing Wolfsburg. Already, the Eredivisie has seen the departure of last seasons top-goalscorer Alfred Finnbogason to Real Sociedad after he scored 29 goals in 31 games.

Practically every season, a team from the top European leagues takes a gamble on the top goal-scorer from the Eredivisie. In turn, you either receive an Afonso Alves to Middlesbrough horror show, or a Luis Suarez to Liverpool masterclass.

To conclude, Saints fans are not expecting Pelle to emulate Suarez, although they'll certainly be expecting at least ten goals from the player selected to replace their cult hero. Lets face it, anything Pelle does for the Saints should be an improvement upon €19 million flop Daniel Osvaldo.

Topics:
Eredivisie
Southampton
Football

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