Chelsea undoubtedly possess a world-class forward in the form of Diego Costa, so there is no immediate need for a big-money striker. However, with Loic Remy, Radamel Falcao and Alexandre Pato all potentially departing, the Spaniard will certainly need a deputy.
The majority of strikers linked with the Stamford Bridge side tend to have a connection with Italy or Serie A in light of the arrival of Antonio Conte. This is equally true of Southampton forward Graziano Pelle who works under Conte via the Italian national team.
With the impending Chelsea boss considering his options for a potential partner or back-up for Costa, Pelle will likely be high on his agenda. It certainly appears a route the Blues should at the very least explore and test the waters at the St. Mary’s Stadium.
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After years of loitering in Dutch football with little success, his move to one of the country’s top sides Feyenoord in 2013 sparked the Italian’s rise. A prolific campaign of 23 league goals in just 28 appearances saw Southampton snap him up the following summer for £8 million.
The 30-year-old has enjoyed relative success since his switch to the Premier League with his physical style of play suiting English football well.
His inaugural season on the south coast saw a satisfying tally of 16 goals in 44 appearances. This campaign has seen Pelle maintain this steady rate with a further 13 strikes albeit a minor slump in form over the winter months.
Nonetheless, his form caught the eye of Conte who even handed the forward his first senior international cap in October 2014. Since then, the Saints forward has garnered four goals, one of which came against England, for Gli Azzurri with 11 caps.
While his form has waned in recent weeks, it remains likely that Conte will select him as part of Italy’s Euro 2016 squad. After all, Pelle was his country’s top scorer in the qualifying process and has even drawn comparisons to the legendary Luca Toni.
With Chelsea eyeing up a striker in the transfer window, the capture of Pelle certainly seems a realistic and appetising proposition. The Sun has been one of numerous publications to now draw the link and it seems a growing amount of truth is seeping into these reports.
After all, Costa’s presence means the west London side don’t need to splash the cash for a word-class forward as they already have one. Consequently, a cheap but equally worthy striker is the answer and Pelle fits the bill.
With Southampton starting Shane Long as their number one striker recently, Ronald Koeman may be interested in relinquishing the Italian. In addition, although money is no object at Stamford Bridge, Pelle would cost far less than the numerous other forwards with which they are linked.
Moreover, the 30-year-old possesses valuable Premier League experience whereas there would be no guarantee attackers from Serie A would cope with the adjustment. His renowned ability in the air would also see him perfect if Chelsea continued to persist with their one striker formations.
Above all however, it proves the crucial link between Conte and Pelle via the national team that sees this move not just exciting but likely. There are no guarantees yet the current Saints man would undoubtedly be an upgrade upon the flopping Falcao.
It proves a move where Chelsea have nothing to lose but potentially a lot to gain.
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