Southampton may be having their problems with centre-forwards now, but it was not too long ago when the Saints looked set up front.
Back in the summer of 2014, the south coast club brought in Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord for £9.9m (Transfermarkt) in a move that reunited the Italian with his former manager Ronald Koeman.
At De Kuip, Pelle boasted an impressive goalscoring record, showing just why Koeman was so keen to bring the striker to St. Mary’s as he looked to replace Rickie Lambert following his dream move to Liverpool.
And while some had their doubts with Pelle coming from the Eredivisie, a division that had provided the Premier League with some terrible centre-forward exports in the past, in the end, Koeman’s faith was repaid to a certain degree.
Albeit a transfer to Shandong Luneng for China’s riches soon followed, during his two seasons at St. Mary’s, Pelle managed to reach double figures in both Premier League campaigns.
But it was not just goals that the 33-year-old brought to Koeman’s side. With his height and strength, Pelle held up the ball so well and was aerially dominant, aspects of his game that saw Antonio Conte take a keen interest in him.
Conte, who made Pelle the focal point of his Euro 2016 Italy team, considered a move for the former Feyenoord man (Evening Standard) heading into a season where Chelsea would be crowned Premier League champions under their new boss.
For whatever reason, a move did not materialise with Pelle eventually going on to join Shandong Luneng instead.
Still, even if it was for just two campaigns, at £9.9m, Southampton got a good return from the smart investment they made in the Italy international.
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