Graziano Pelle is set to leave Southampton this summer and Chelsea has reportedly joined the race for the Italian striker.
The departure of Falcao and Pato after failed loan spells have created more space in the Chelsea squad for new additions. With Antonio Conte expected to use his now signature 3-5-2 formation, the Blues are on the hunt to add more quality strikers to their ranks after recently signing Michy Batshuayi from Olympique Marseille.
According to the Telegraph and Gianluca Di Marzio, Chelsea has set its sights on Southampton’s Graziano Pelle. The 30-year-old had a fine spell at the European Championships which was only marred by his horrid penalty miss in the quarter-final clash against Germany. The former Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar striker is also a target for Everton and AC Milan.
Pelle has enjoyed two good seasons at Southampton after making the switch from Feyenoord for a reported €8 million. He has scored a combined total for 30 goals in 81 appearances for the Saints over the course of two seasons. He has, however, found a starting position hard to come by after spending time on the sidelines due to injury and often losing out to Shane Long and Charlie Austin.
The 30-year old Italian international could serve as an adequate back up striker at Chelsea behind Costa, Batshuayi and anyone else who might arrive. Having worked with Antonio Conte in the Italian squad, he would be familiar with his philosophy and methods which would be an added bonus. Southampton are expected to ask anywhere between £10 million to £20 million for the striker.
His arrival would however cast doubts over the futures of youngsters Bertrand Traore and Patrick Bamford. The former has enjoyed a good outing last season along with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, scoring 4 goals in his first full season with the Blues, whereas Bamford has endured a torrid year, with his last goal coming in 2015 whilst he was a Middlesbrough player. However, despite their contrasting seasons, both are extremely talented and are younger, long-term and much cheaper options for Conte. It would also go down well with the fans to see some young talent coming through.