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Graziano Pelle backed for more success under Ronald Koeman - so long as his passion to win doesn't boil over
NEW Saints signing Graziano Pelle is a “perfect fit” for the Premier League.
He is “a delight” to watch, but his passion to win could boil over.
Those are the views of Will Burns, editor of the TotalDutchFootball.com website and someone very familiar with the £8m Italian’s style of play.
Saints completed their second high profile signing in a matter of days over the weekend, bringing in Koeman’s former Feyernoord forward.
Pelle, who celebrates his 29th birthday tomorrow, has been the second highest scorer in the Dutch League for the last two seasons.
He struck 27 goals in only 29 appearances in 2012/13, while he added another 23 goals in 28 outings under Koeman last term.
Burns told the Daily Echo last week that Dusan Tadic was a great first signing by Koeman as he plots his own St Mary’s revolution.
Tadic topped the assists charts in the Dutch Erevidisie last season, and Burns feels he could provide Pelle with many chances in the 2014/15 Premier League season.
Now Burns is confident Koeman has signed an ideal replacement for the talismanic Rickie Lambert.
“Pellè is a player I have admired for the past two seasons, he is a perfect fit for the Premier League,” said Burns.
“At 6ft 4 inches tall, he is physically strong but also a delight to watch on the ball.
“Scoring 50 in 57 games for Feyenoord shows he knows where the target is.
“Playing as a target man, he can overpower any defender to keep the ball at his feet, to then feed into any overlapping player or, better still, create a chance for himself.
“With the great ability of playing two strong feet, Pellè’s movement is also excellent for a big guy, which can provide source of goals when his back is to goal.
“If Southampton can find two great crossers on their wings, then Pelle will deliver goals.
“Inside the box, Pellè is always looking for the ball, losing his marker to usually head home from either near or far post.
“The power in his legs makes him leap well and above the tallest of defenders.
“So from any cross, whether it be in-play, or from a set-piece, Pellè is a real aerial threat.”
That is the plus side to Pelle’s game.
The downside could be his discipline.
Koeman will certainly be keen to ensure his new strike signing does not go the same way as last summer’s record signing Dani Osvaldo.
The Italian international struggled to impress in the Premier League, scoring just three times, and was sent back to Italy in disgrace earlier this year after headbutting Jose Fonte in training.
Burns said of Pelle: “One downfall could be his temperament.
“The Italian is passionate but explosive when things to do not go his way, and has been known to sulk if his side are losing in important games.
“There were some incidents from last season that got Pellè in hot water with the KNVB (Dutch FA).
“The KNVB handed the striker a one-match ban, after he was caught on camera kicking the dugout and smashing TV equipment following his side’s 2-2 draw with FC Twente last March.
“His next appearance in a Feyenoord shirt was in a 2-1 defeat to Ajax.
“Video replays showed during the match, in which Pelle scored his team’s consolation, that the Italian was lucky not to be sent off after he appeared to elbow Ajax defender Joël Veltman.
“Referee Bjorn Kuipers, did not witness the incident, so the KNVB made the decision to suspend Pellè further.
“Afterwards, the Italian was involved in a confrontational interview at pitchside with a Dutch TV interviewer, which helped the KNVB make their decision.
“As a further punishment, Feyenoord added another two games to Pelle’s ban.”
In addition, Koeman stripped Pelle of the captaincy.
“Despite the behavioural issues, the passion Pelle shows displays a great will to win,” Burns continued.
“With great finishing with both feet and his head, I see goals from Pellè and another successful tenure under Koeman.”