Despite a turbulent summer where Southampton lost manager Mauricio Pochettino as well as star players such as Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, new manager Ronald Koeman has guided the club to a stunning start to the season, winning four of their first seven games and amassing 13 points.
Koeman spent wisely when replacing those aforementioned key players, bringing in the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Toby Alderweireld and Dusan Tadic, but there can be no doubting that his biggest capture has been striker Graziano Pelle.
The target man always seemed like the ideal replacement for Lambert given his phenomenal scoring record under Koeman at Feyenoord, where he hit 55 goals in 66 games before his £8m move to St. Mary's Stadium. Since arriving on the South Coast, Pelle's goalscoring feats have continued, scoring five goals in his first eight games in all competitions - which has led to his first ever call-up to the Italy squad at the age of 29.
And when handed a start against Malta by manager Antonio Conte, Pelle repaid his faith with the winning goal, making him something of a new hero in both Southampton and Italy. Despite only moving to Southampton in July, rumours have now started to link Pelle with a move back to Italy, and his agent Romauldo Corvino has done little to play down talk of interest from Napoli.
"Napoli is one of the most important teams in the country and in recent years has done well in Italy and in Europe," said Corvino. "Napoli has its own charm, even for Pelle and he always speaks well of them. Napoli is a major place and all the players want to wear the blue shirt and it is for this reason that inevitably Graziano appreciates Napoli."
"A future in Naples? In football, never say never, everything goes so fast that we can't close any doors."