Saturday 12 July 2014
Southampton have announced the signing of forward Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord. The 28-year-old Italian joins for an undisclosed fee on a three-year contract.
"This is going to be the best choice for me because the club wants to keep improving every year"
Pelle is reunited with new Southampton manager Ronald Koeman under whom he spent two seasons at Feyenoord. Koeman signed Pelle from Parma in the summer of 2012 and in the next two season the striker scored 50 goals from 57 Eredivisie matches. This rate of 0.88 goals per match over the past two seasons was only bettered in Europe by Lionel Messi, at Barcelona, and Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid.
Koeman and Pelle had also worked together at AZ Alkmaar and the striker becomes the Dutchman’s second signing of the summer, after playmaker Dusan Tadic from another Eredivisie side, Twente.
“I’m really happy that it’s finally signed,” Pelle told saintsfc.co.uk. “I had some teams interested in me, but this is going to be the best choice for me because the club wants to keep improving every year.
“Koeman and I worked together for two amazing years at Feyenoord, and I hope that it will be the same here. There are many good things about this club other than the trainer. The Premier League is amazing, and Southampton is showing year-by-year that it wants to improve.
“Last year, everyone in Europe was impressed by the performances of the team, and it’s clear that the club is growing. It’s great to be here.”
Koeman hailed the importance of bringing in a new goalscorer after the sale of England forward Rickie Lambert to Liverpool.
“Goals mean points, and we needed a good player in that position after Rickie Lambert left,” Koeman said. “In terms of his qualities, 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, and he’s very dangerous in front of goal.
Graziano Pelle facts
Date of birth 15 July, 1985
Place of birth Lecce, Italy
Previous clubs Lecce, AZ Alkmaar, Parma, Feyenoord
Height 6ft 4in (193cm)
“He’s almost 29 years old, so he brings a little bit of experience to a young team. Overall, we’re pleased to have brought in Graziano after signing Dusan Tadic earlier this week. This shows we are committed to strengthening the team and progressing after last season.”
Koeman suggested that more signings were on their way.
“We know that we need some more players because we haven’t occupied all of the positions,” he said. “We need more players to bring the squad to where we need and expect.”
Pelle will join his new team-mates for pre-season training ahead of their first friendly, away to Swindon Town on 21 July. For all Southampton's pre-season friendlies, click here. Koeman takes charge of his first Barclays Premier League match away to Liverpool on the weekend of 16 August.