Graziano Pelle reveals which club he could have joined instead of Southampton

Graziano Pelle

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle has earned a call-up to the Italy squad off he back of his early season form - but he could've joined Fiorentina.

Southampton may have lost manager Mauricio Pochettino, defenders Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw, midfielder Adam Lallana and striker Rickie Lambert this summer, but they've shown no ill-effects of the exodus so far under new boss Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman has won four of his first seven game in charge at St. Mary's Stadium, taking the Saints to third place in the Premier League table behind title favourites Chelsea and Manchester City. With so many players leaving, Koeman had a tough task on his hands replacing the talent on the South Coast, but new additions such as Toby Alderweireld, Ryan Bertrand and Dusan Tadic have all hit the ground running in an exceptional start for the Saints.

Yet arguably their best buy came in the form of striker Graziano Pelle, who Koeman brought with him from Feyenoord. The towering Italian hit a staggering 55 goals in 66 games under Koeman in Rotterdam, and it was no surprise to see the duo reunite - especially after the Saints sold Lambert to Liverpool.

Pelle was the ideal replacement, but he did come with some question marks over him. A poor goalscoring record outside of the Netherlands meant that some thought he would struggle in England, but with four goals in the opening seven games, he has proved all his doubters wrong so far.

However, it could have been oh so different for Pelle. Upon his first call-up to the Italian national team at the age of 29, Pelle admitted that he could have returned to Serie A with Fiorentina in January after Vincenzo Montella's side were left without star striker Mario Gomez, but money prevented the deal.

"There was some contact [with Fiorentina in January], but the problem is that abroad there is money," said Pelle. "Feyenoord took advantage and asked for a lot of money, so in reality the contact only meant a small chance of them taking me to Italy. Fiorentina would have been a nice destination, but I am happy with how things worked out."

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch