Southampton have been linked with signing Sasa Kalajdzic recently and the Austrian striker could prove to be the next Graziano Pelle at St Mary’s.
Reports from Sky Deutschland (via Inside Football) last month suggested that Ralph Hasenhuttl could look to bring his international compatriot to the club before the transfer window shuts, as he looks to bolster his attacking options.
The Saints boss has lost both Armando Broja and Shane Long from last season’s attacking options, with 20-year-old Sekou Mara the only natural striker added to the squad so far this window.
Recent reports have also suggested that Che Adams could depart the South Coast club, so a new striker will surely be high on Hasenhuttl’s priority list, and Kalajdzic could be the ideal man.
While last season was an injury-hit one for the Austrian, he still managed six goals in just 15 appearances, so could definitely add a goalscoring threat to Hasenhuttl’s side.
Only James Ward-Prowse hit double figures for the Saints last season, with main striking options Adams and Adam Armstrong managing just nine league goals between them, so it is clear that they need a more clinical option up front.
WhoScored suggests that Kalajdzic’s strengths include finishing, aerial duels and headed attempts, which is perhaps no surprise when you consider that he stands at 6 foot 7.
Bundesliga journalist Marcel Reif was extremely complimentary of Kalajdzic’s ability, suggesting that he can do “crazy things in the air“, so he could definitely add a different dimension to Southampton’s attack.
He will perhaps remind Southampton fans of 6 foot 4 Pelle, who contributed 23 goals in 68 Premier League games for Southampton, including seven with his head.
Former Saints boss Ronald Koeman praised Pelle after he scored twice in a 2-1 win against Stoke City in 2016, saying:
“It’s a great corner from Davis for the first one and a great header, but the whole individual performance from Graziano was amazing. He was strong, he was winning battles and scoring and that is what you expect.”
Therefore, the similarities between the Italian and the Austrian are clear to see, as both players excel in the air and could be a real threat for Southampton.
Pelle was arguably the last effective target man Southampton had, and while Hasenhuttl has shown a preference for shorter, quicker strikers in his time at Southampton, it is perhaps time he looked at someone like Kalajdzic.