Despite previously taking the Premier League by storm under the composed management style of Ronald Koeman, Southampton have seemingly drifted off the radar somewhat this season, thanks largely to the recent heroics of Leicester City rightfully commanding the lion’s share of the media spotlight in 2015/16.
One Saints player who has nonetheless drawn his fair share of attention down at St. Mary’s this term, however, arrives in the form of their 30-year-old Italian striker – Graziano Pelle. The former Feyenoord man has reportedly raised the interest of S.S. Lazio, despite facing a prolonged spell on the sidelines throughout the current Premier League campaign.
So then, although the towering front-man has arguably witnessed the prime stages of his career come and go at this particular point in the proceedings, must Southampton fans begin readying their good-byes for Graziano Pelle this summer, or does the Italian striker still have a meaningful future left at St. Mary’s beyond the current season?
Well, although the former Eredivisie favourite has certainly drawn complaint from some – albeit isolated – sections of the Saints faithful of late, Pelle has still managed to register an impressive 13 goals in all competitions this season, which isn’t all that bad going for someone in his current situation.
Despite facing a string of frustratingly-timed injury concerns throughout the 2015/16 campaign, and subsequently falling behind both Shane Long and the recently acquired Charlie Austin among Ronald Koeman’s desired pecking order, Graziano Pelle has still himself in an admirable light this season regardless of the distinct shortcomings to his overall game.
But whilst the powerful Italian clearly represents a particularly effective player when operating at the very best of his ability, and has even impressed for the Azzurri upon the international scene of late, maybe Southampton should wave a warm good-bye to the striker this summer.
At 30-years-of-age, it ultimately remains to be seen whether Pelle will manage to declare himself injury-free for the vast majority of the upcoming league campaign. His ability to fire in the goals at a consistent enough rate could also come into question should Southampton decide to hold onto the Italian’s services this summer, especially with Charlie Austin looking to cement a regular first-team spot down at St. Mary’s in the not too distant future.
This summer could theoretically represent the Saints’ last chance to cash in on Graziano Pelle before his situation becomes truly untenable. Regardless of how promising a servant the lofty Italian has nonetheless proven for Southampton in recent seasons, perhaps it’s time Ronald Koeman looked to update his current striking department with future plans in mind.
After all, several well-placed alternatives remain open for consideration this coming summer. Whilst Pelle deserves praise for everything he has recently achieved in Saints colours, the writing does admittedly seem to reside right there on the wall for the Italian striker clearly approaching the latter stages of his career.
So then, although both Shane Long and Charlie Austin haven’t exactly excelled from a fitness point of view this season, Southampton should arguably look to part ways with Graziano Pelle ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, with a view to sourcing a range of newly established stars for the upcoming domestic season.