In successfully ending his much discussed goal drought last time out against Hull City, Southampton’s Graziano Pelle has once again remerged within the broader footballing consciousness that makes up the Premier League.
The big Italian had transformed into a somewhat forgotten figure since the turn of the year, but two goals this weekend has put him back in the Southampton fans' good books. It takes a certain level of consistency to remain talked about in the English game after all.
Now that the 29-year-old has seemingly lifted that monkey from his back however, the Saints no. 19 certainly looks well placed to push on confidently for the rest of the season. With everything that has happened for Graziano Pelle across the course of this term though, just how good has the striker really been throughout 2014/15?
Does he deserve to go down as one of the best transfers we’ve seen this season, or is he simply a one trick pony, who didn’t take long to burn out and now seems not much more than an average front-man at best? The answer may not arrive as smoothly as it would seem…
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When the physical target man first arrived at St. Mary’s at the beginning of the new campaign, Pelle brought with him a reputation for being an out-in-out goal-scorer – and in true honey-moon style for his new club – that is exactly what fans of the Premier League saw from the striker at first.
He pretty much had it all going for him as he began his new life at St. Mary’s. Pelle had all the strength and confidence up-top necessary to make it in the English game, he was surprisingly calm on the ball and composed with his link-up play for a player of his stature, and as the front-man seemingly had a touch of technical ability about him also in his locker, it initially seemed as if Ronald Koeman had made the perfect signing for the Saints in Graziano Pelle.
The former Feyenoord man had successfully begun to establish himself in the Italian national set-up, and as only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had a better goal-scoring frequency than the towering striker throughout the past two seasons in Europe, it would have been fair to suggest that the no. 19 could have perhaps found himself a more high profile new team prior to signing for the Saints.
However, as the Eredivisie obviously doesn’t match the same level of competition and intensity as La Liga, or the Premier League for that matter, such a promising looking stat invariably doesn’t tell the whole story. In truth Graziano Pelle is nowhere near the top bracket of player plying their trade in Europe at the moment, no matter how well received he has been by the St. Mary’s faithful.
In fact, the lofty Saints man resembles more of a traditional English centre-forward than his Italian roots would elude to. He is certainly more of an Andy Carroll than an Alessandro Del Piero – and even though his game is still very well suited to the tests and trials of the Premier League – ultimately Pelle’s overall game just doesn’t seem like it would cut it at the highest level.
He is simply too stiff on occasion, with not a great deal of movement offered in place of his lack of agility and manoeuvrability.
That said however, this is only the centre-forward’s first campaign in the English game, and as the signs certainly look promising for Southampton fans at the moment, there is no reason to suggest that Graziano Pelle won’t push on to even greater things next season. At the grand old age of 29-years-old however, time seemingly isn’t on the striker’s side.