Tuesday, January 6 th, 2015
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Photo: Soputhampton official website
Graziano Pellé, an Italian goal-machine for Southampton
The Saints have just signed the striker from Italian "Salento" for € 6,5 M. His goalscoring talent exploded just two years ago
How to ignore a player who scored 50 goals in 57 caps in his last two seasons? Apparently there's no logic reason, but that's what Italian football has been doing with Graziano Pellé, the 29-year old striker who has just become a Southampton player. It seems that Ronald Koeman has adopted the guy from San Cesario di Lecce, a small town in the "heel" of the Italian "boot". Koeman knew Pellé at AZ Alkmaar, where the Dutch coach had a brief experience. In 2012, he wanted the Italian at Feyenoord, where his goal-scoring talent exploded: 27 goals in the first season, 23 in the second. Oddly, those two huge goal-hailstorms never earned him a best goal-scorer title: in the 2012-2013 Pellé was preceded by Wilfred Bony, whereas in the past season the honour went to Heerenveen's Alfreð Finnbogason.

But Graziano Pellé hasn't always been a ruthless finisher. It is said a football player reaches full maturity around 28 years old. Until that moment, he can show his talent, his aptitudes and at the same time he can't keep up with his potentiality. Many elements can influence a career. An injury, low confidence from a coache, team strategies that don't enhance individual characteristics, no affinity with supporters, no incentive to personal improvement. Goodness knows what happened to Graziano Pellè, at Feyenoord.

In his early career in Italian Serie B (Lecce, Catania, Cesena, Crotone), his personal top score was 10 goals with Cesena. In Serie A (Parma and Sampdoria) he played a fistful of matches, scoring 5 times only. Since August 2012 everything changed and Pellé became the captain of Feyenoord.

Between Feyenoord supporters, "you can see more and more men with a retro hair look. The latest fashion is called «the schoolboy separation», the style of Graziano Pellè. Even some celebrities have fallen for the so-called separation school boy". On Youtube, you can find some tutorials to have his hair cut. Any sunday, on twitter, the hash tag trend was: #SundayIsPelleDay. The Italian Stallion appeared also in a commercial for Eredivisie Live.

Now, it's up to the Saints' fans to celebrate this weekly recurrence. Graziano Pellé surely has the "physique du rôle" to succeed in Premier League and his good-natured character will live Osvaldo's follies down very quickly in the Hampshire. "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 the goal", Koeman said.

In the meantime, it would be interesting to know why Cesare Prandelli ignored such a prolific striker. Italy faced the disastrous Brazil 2014 campaign without an authentic target-man, leaving to Balotelli most of the attacking duties and responsibilities. The Azzurri ended the tournament against Uruguay playing with Cassano as centre-forward. Pellé's goal-instinct would have been terribly useful.

Tuesday, July 15 th, 2014
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