By Will Butcher
Ronald Koeman wants to beat Chelsea to a second marquee signing this week by signing Graziano Pelle, according to a report.
Football Insider reported on Friday that Everton were closing on the signing of Axel Witsel after having a £30million bid accepted by his club Zenit St. Petersburg.
The Telegraph have now claimed that Southampton’s talismanic striker Pelle will leave the club this summer and that Everton and Chelsea are to battle for the 30-year-old’s signature.
Koeman is keen to sign Pelle for the third time, after signing him for Dutch giants Feyenoord and then bringing him to Southampton two years ago.
It is said new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will be looking to use his Italian connections to bring his fellow countryman to Stamford Bridge, despite just signing Michy Batshuayi from Marseille.
The former AZ Alkmaar striker only has one-year left on his contract at St Mary’s Stadium and there are no plans at the club to offer him a new deal.
Pelle scored a creditable 14 goals in all competitions for Southampton in the 2015-16 season even though he went through a dry patch of 12 league games without a goal during the turn of the year.
However, Pelle was impressive during Italy’s Euro 2016 run, scoring two goals,before they were knocked out on penalties to Germany in an epic quarter-final on Saturday evening.
He started in the team for all four of the critical matches, and was rested for the final group game defeat to Republic of Ireland when Italy had already won the group.
In other Everton news, this Euro 2016 goalkeeper is being linked with a move to Goodison Park.