Graziano Pelle ignores Chelsea and Everton interest to join Chinese side Shandong Luneng in £13million deal that makes him the fifth-highest paid player in the world
- Graziano Pelle has left Southampton for Shandong Luneng in £13m deal
- Italy international had been subject of interest from Chelsea and Everton
- Pelle is latest in a long line of players to make big-money moves to China
Graziano Pelle has completed a move to Chinese side Shandong Luneng despite interest from Chelsea and Everton.
The Italy international has left Southampton in a £13million deal and was presented by Shandong Luneng on Monday.
It is understood Pelle will earn £13.6million a year in China, making him the joint-fifth highest paid player in the world.
Graziano Pelle has joined Shandong Luneng in a £13million deal despite interest from Chelsea and Everton
Pelle is the latest in a long line of players to make a big-money move from Europe to China in the last year
TOP 10 BEST PAID PLAYERS
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – £18m per year
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – £17m per year
3. Hulk (Shanghai SIPG) – £17m per year
4. Neymar (Barcelona) – £16.2m per year
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) – £13.6m per year
=5. Graziano Pelle (Shandong Luneng) – £13.6m per year
The deal represents a £5million profit for the Saints on a player who turns 31 on Friday.
A statement on Southampton’s official website read: ‘Everyone at Southampton Football Club would like to thank Graziano for his efforts during his time at St Mary’s and wish him well for the future.’
Pelle moved to St Mary’s from Dutch side Feyenoord in the summer of 2014, helping the club achieve back-to-back record-breaking seasons in the Premier League.
The 30-year-old, who featured for Italy at Euro 2016, made 81 appearances during two successful campaigns with the Saints, scoring 30 goals.
Pelle is the latest player to switch to China in a big-money move following the transfers of Jackson Martinez, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Ramires.
The 30-year-old made 81 appearances during two successful campaigns with the Saints, scoring 30 goals
Pelle featured for Italy at Euro 2016 but missed a decisive spot-kick in the quarter-final defeat by Germany
The striker will partner former Premier League forward Papiss Cisse up front who also signed for Shandong from Newcastle on Saturday.
A Newcastle statement said: ‘Everyone at St. James’ Park wishes Papiss all the best for the next stage of his career.’
Cisse also posted messages to the Geordie faithful on Twitter: ‘I want to put on record my thanks and appreciation for the Newcastle fans. I will never forget them as long as I live and will be back as a supporter alongside them 1 day.’
Pelle’s girlfriend – Hungarian model Viktoria Varga – was spotted in the crowd supporting him at Euro 2016
Pelle and Varga are avid travellers – here they are soaking up the sun in a rooftop pool in Singapore
Papiss Cisse left Newcastle United for Shandong Luneng on Saturday and will partner Pelle up front
Source: Daily Mail