By Coral Barry
Everton will have to pay £16million for Southampton’s Graziano Pelle, according to a report.
Toffees boss Ronald Koeman has been linked with a raid on his former club and is keen to sign the Italy international for the third time in his managerial career.
However, the Daily Express claim Koeman’s acquisition of Pelle will cost a whopping £16million despite the striker having just one year left on his contract.
Southampton have already lost Victor Wanyama to Tottenham and Sadio Mane to Liverpool this summer and do not want to part ways with their star frontman.
The rumoured interest from Chelsea may have contributed to the hefty price tag with former Italy coach Antonio Conte now in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Pelle scored 14 goals and provided seven assists in all competitions in the 2015-16 season and the 30-year-old is currently on holiday after helping Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
Koeman brought Pelle to Feyenoord where he bagged 55 goals in 66 appearances before luring him to Southampton when he joined the Saints in 2014.
It is claimed Everton do not regard Pelle as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who they are determined to hold onto this summer.
Pelle would be a partner or able alternative to Lukaku with Arouna Kone and Oumar Niasse the only other striking options for Everton.
Niasse is still adjusting to life in England after a £13.5million January move while 32-year-old Kone is rumoured to be one of players Everton are considering offloading this summer.
In other Everton news, the Toffees are closing in on the signing of this promising youngster.