Reports this morning stated that Southampton’s talks with Feyenoord over the possible signing of Graziano Pelle have come to a standstill. The problem apparently stems from the valuation of the player and The Saints’s unwillingness to budge on their €8 million offer. Rumour has it, Feyenoord want something more in line with €12 million for the striker’s services.
However, Feyenoord could do a lot with €8m and with the upcoming €8.5m sale of defender Bruno Martins Indi to Portuguese giants FC Porto, this would give new boss Fred Rutten an excellent war chest to push Ajax to the limit this year and challenge for the title. With the new Saints manager Ronald Koeman, knowing his former club inside out, including a great relationship with Feyenoord’s technical director Martin van Geel. The Dutchman surely will know how much money it will take to get Pelle to the South Coast of England, so we feel the reports this morning may be inaccurate.
The Italian striker has scored 23 times in 28 appearances for the Rotterdam club last season but he turns 29 on the 15th of July and Southampton are stalling on paying this much for a striker at this age. There is also an element of unproven ability with Pelle, who has only really ever excelled during spells in the Eredivisie.
A fruitful spell at AZ Alkmaar yieled 14 goals in 78 appearances but a year at Parma where he only scored once and a subsequent loan move to Sampdoria was just as unsuccessful. He went on loan to Feyenoord at the beginning of the 2012 season and almost scored a goal per game with 27 in 29, and continued off in similar form last season with his strike rate.
While Southampton have sold a main crop of their young talent that has taken them to the dizzying heights of the top half of the Premier League table, they are not yet desperate enough to spend money needlessly and they might feel that their need for a striker is being used against them in this negotiation. The sale of Rickie Lambert to Liverpool is at the crux of Southampton’s need to find a replacement and Feyenoord will be aware of this fact.
Koeman was at the helm during Pelle’s most prolific period of goalscoring and wants to be reunited with the Italian in order to develop the same kind of productivity that was evident over the past two seasons.
Pelle is also garnering attention from Premier League newcomers Leicester City but Pelle’s loyalty to Koeman might play a huge part in the unravelling of this transfer story.
If the negotiations do break down, Southampton might look to FC Twente’s Luc Castaignos as another possible replacement for Rickie Lambert.
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