Name: Graziano Pellè
Date of Birth: 15/7/1985
Former Clubs: Lecce, Catania, Crotone, Cesena, AZ Alkmaar, Parma, Sampdoria, Feyenoord
League Appearances (Goals): 245 (88)
International Appearances (Goals): 0 (0)
Stat of the Day: Graziano Pellè either scored or assisted an Eredivisie goal every 82 minutes in his 57 league appearances for Feyenoord
Player Profile: QPR are all too familiar with woeful Italian exports and Graziano Pellè`s pretty deplorable 35 goals in 183 league appearances would have been better found in a toilsome loan spell at Loftus Road. To say his sudden burst of exceptional form at Ronald Koeman`s Feyenoord was unexpected would be an understatement then, and 50 goals in 57 appearances for the Eredivisie side suddenly brought him to the fore of European football as well as causing fans of his previous seven clubs to scratch their heads in bewilderment. The ‘late-bloomer` tag has often been thrown around when describing Pellè and it certainly seems the 29-year-old is making up for lost time.
The departure of Rickie Lambert, Southampton`s South Coast saviour in recent years, has been softened by the arrival of Pellè in both his early goalscoring form and playing style. It is difficult to avoid the comparison with Lambert, even if Pellè`s Italian apprenticeship did not quite match the Liverpudlian`s school of hard knocks, but both are quick and agile for their size, good in the air and consistently score goals. Pellè has followed Koeman from Feyenoord to St Mary`s for what is already turning out to be a cut-price £8 million and the two seemed to have taken the mantle of furthering Southampton`s formidable rise with admirable ease.
Graziano Pellè was born in Italy and started out at Southern-Italian side Lecce, helping their youth sides to regular league and cup wins. He spent time on loan at lower league sides Catania and Crotone in order to gain first team experience but failed to make any sort of impact. His first impressive season came in 2006/2007 where he managed 10 goals in 37 league appearances on loan at Cesena, but failed to make the grade at parent club Lecce.
It was Louis van Gaal who signed Pellè for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar on the back of an exuberant 2007 European U21 Championships and despite helping his side to an Eredvisie win in 2009 the striker was used sparingly in a flickering four years in North Holland. He finished with 14 goals in 78 appearances at AZ before moving back to Italy and signing with Parma. He only mustered one goal in his time at The Crusaders before spending time on loan at Sampdoria.
He was again sent out on loan for the 2012/2013 season, this time to Feyenoord, becoming the first Italian to play for the club. He scored 11 goals in his first 10 games and agreed to sign a four-year deal with the Dutch side, and by the end of the season had amassed an impressive 27 goals.
His fine form continued as he rocketed to 50 goals in 57 appearances for the Rotterdam club and following the departure of Koeman to Southampton followed his manager to the South Coast in an £8 million, three-year deal.
One to Watch – Graziano Pellè
Name: Graziano Pellè