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Saints set for Pelle purchase if Koeman comes in as coach

| 06.06.2014

Southampton, 9/1 with Coral to be relegated next season, could move for Feyenoord forward Graziano Pelle, if odds-on favourite Ronald Koeman succeeds Mauricio Pochettino as manager at St Mary’s.

The 28-year-old Italian, who is yet to receive a senior Azzurri cap, is under contract with the Rotterdam giants until 2017. Koeman, the coach to get the most out of Pelle, however, is leaving Feyenoord after steering them to second place this season and Champions League football for next.

A prolific scorer in the Eredivisie over the last two campaigns, Pelle has netted 50 goals in 57 games in Rotterdam. The Saints will be in the market for a striker, following Rickie Lambert’s sale to boyhood club Liverpool – the first of several anticipated departures.

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, meanwhile, was loaned out to Italian champions Juventus in January following a training ground bust-up with Jose Fonte. Southampton gave the Turin giants a buying option, which Old Lady boss Antonio Conte may yet take up.

Zambia frontman Emmanuel Mayuka will return to St Mary’s, though, after a temporary stint away at recently relegated Ligue 1 outfit Sochaux. He scored just four times for the French side, but hopes to persuade whoever takes over from Pochettino that he has a future at the Saints.

Jay Rodriguez is sidelined by a serious knee injury until at least October, while Billy Sharp’s future is up in the air after loan spells at Nottingham Forest, Reading and Doncaster Rovers over the last two seasons. This leaves young Scotsman Sam Gallagher as the only backup available on Southampton’s books.

Marksmen that have excelled in the Netherlands have a mixed record when stepping up into the Premier League. For every success like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie, there have been flops, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Afonso Alves being infamous examples.

The Saints are 33/1 shots with Coral to crash the top-four next term.



Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.