Graziano Pelle has been at the centre of transfer gossip over the past week, particularly after his impressive showing at the European Championships in France this summer with Italy.
Rumours have emerged linking the tall striker with a possible move away from Southampton, possibly to Chelsea, Everton or even the Chinese Super League, but the Antonio Conte's side will still feel confident in sealing a deal for the Italian.
Despite the financial pull of Shanghai Greenland, a move to Chelsea still remains the most prestigious move in terms of competing at the highest level and with the best players, prospects that could turn Pelle's attention towards west London.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
The 30-year-old was the main attacking threat for the Azzurri in a side that not many people fancied to make much progress at Euro 2016.
Proving the critics wrong, both Pelle and the national team put forth a respectable account of themselves during the tournament, as Antonio Conte's men reached the quarter-finals, before losing to World Champions and favourites Germany on penalties.
Article continues below
The Blues target would surely provide a viable option up front but it is still questionable whether the Saints forward is the answer to Chelsea's attacking concerns.
Inconsistent form in the Premier League
Although registering 12 and 11 goals during 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 respectively, Pelle has been far from prolific at St Mary's.
Having started his first season in England in blistering form, the second half of the campaign saw a goal drought for the Italian. The following season witnessed a dismal start but ended in promising fashion for Southampton's lead striker - the exact opposite manner to the previous term.
The quality is there for everyone to see, but the failure to sustain the same level of intensity and performance for long periods has hurt the imposing striker's chances in the first team, something that could continue at Stamford Bridge.
Over the course of last season, Shane Long often provided a more reliable presence up front for Ronald Koeman's team, despite Pelle's undeniable ability.
In order to play for a European giant such as Chelsea, the Italian forward certainly needs to prove to the manager that he has the ability to perform on a regular basis or whenever called upon.
Will struggle to feature for the first team
With Diego Costa being the primary striker at the Bridge and the signature of promising striker Michy Batshuayi, Pelle could be forced down the pecking order for a place in Conte's forward line.
Costa has squashed rumours linking him to a possible return to former club Atletico Madrid, after concerns regarding the player's fragile relationship and confidence at Chelsea. But the Spaniard is willing to fight for his place in the team next season no matter what the attacking options are at the club.
Conte is expected to adopt his favoured 3-5-2 formation with the club, as he did so successfully during his time with Juventus and the Italian national team.
Costa and Batshuayi will be the likely candidates for the front two positions and - barring any serious injuries to the pair - Pelle's time in the team could be limited to less important matches.
The Southampton striker is seen as a backup option for Alvaro Morata, who is much more likely to put up a stiff challenge for the striking positions, having been excellent for Juventus during the last two campaigns and scoring important goals in the Champions League.
It is, therefore, highly possible that Pelle might have to settle for large periods on the bench, with substitute appearances being the forward's best chances of featuring for the team.
Not the youngest player
Another factor that could be a hindrance to the Italian striker's chances at the Bridge is his age.
The 30-year-old is reaching the twilight end of his career, and with his 31st birthday just around the corner, Pelle is certainly not a long term option for Chelsea.
As evident from the past couple of seasons, the Italian striker is not the quickest player and relies largely on his strength and ball control to get the edge over opposition defenders.
On the brink of his veteran years, Pelle might not be able to provide much flexibility in the attack in comparison to Costa, Batshuayi or even potential transfer targets in the form of Morata or Gonzalo Higuain.
Connection with Antonio Conte
As mentioned earlier, Pelle was one of the many impressive players who featured for the Italian national team under Conte during the Euros.
The striker was a key component of the team, playing alongside the more mobile Eder up front. Conte's tactics during the tournament were spot on and the future Chelsea manager deployed Pelle in the most effective way.
The Southampton forward provided a strong presence in attack, held up the ball extremely well, combined effectively with midfielders and wing-backs and also score two crucial goals during the competition.
His familiarity and connection with Conte, therefore, could prove to be a key factor if the striker does arrive at the Bridge, especially as the manager is expected to deploy the same formation with the Blues.
Experience in the Premier League
Another advantage for Pelle is his experience playing in the Premier League. Many strikers who are new to the English game often find it difficult to adjust to the physical and fast nature of the league.
Even the great Andriy Shevchenko and the once promising Mateja Kezman experienced frustrating spells at Chelsea, having boasted impressive scoring records with AC Milan and PSV Eindhoven respectively, prior to their arrival at the Bridge.
Having served as Southampton's primary striker for the last two years, Pelle is no stranger to the English game and has proven that he has the ability to shine in the league.
Considering the above points, the Italian striker could be a bargain backup option but is far from the ideal striker to lead the line for the Blues.
If signed, it will be up to the manager to decide how to utilise the striker's abilities in the most effective way and the extent of his role in the team.
Despite Pelle's quality and great performances with the national team, there could be better options available who are much more viable long-term solutions.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms