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Football Insanity: Graziano Pelle To Become The Fifth Best Paid Player On The Planet

John Balfe
By John Balfe
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You'd be forgiven for not taking much notice in Graziano Pelle becoming the latest big money import into the super-rich Chinese football league but more details of the Italian's £13 million move to Shandong Luneng from Southampton have leaked out today and they are absolutely mind-boggling.

Pelle, who led the line for Italy in their run to the quarter finals of the Euros this summer, is now the highest paid Italian player EVER. Yes, that includes Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero and every other incredible Italian player you can think of over the last decade.

Not only that, this move places Pelle on a very elite list of professional footballers. The striker - who scored 30 goals in 81 appearances at St. Mary's - has now become the fifth highest paid player in professional football, knocking Wayne Rooney out of the top ten.


Pelle is expected to earn a staggering £34 million over the next two seasons and that places him behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Hulk, Neymar and around level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the list of the footballers with the happiest bank managers.


In what could be a sign of things to come, four of the top ten best paid players in the world now ply their trade in China - Hulk, Pelle, Jackson Martinez and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Meanwhile, Southampton have added to their ranks with the excellent capture of midfielder Pierre Emile Hojbjerg from Bayern Munich. New boss Claude Puel will be looking for more reinforcements too, with the club also having lost the services of Sadio Mane, Juanmi, Pelle and Victor Wanyama so far this summer and with the departure of Mane and Pelle from the Saints' frontline, this could lead to an increased role for Shane Long at the tip of the Southampton attack - and that would only be good for Irish football.


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