Chinese Super League 2016

Cashing in: Graziano Pelle set to become fifth highest-paid footballer in the world after decent Euro 2016 earns him a China move

Chinese Super League now has four of top-10 best-paid players

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2016, 12:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2016, 12:18pm

Italy striker Graziano Pelle has cashed in on his decent performance at Euro 2016 with a move to Shandong Luneng in the Chinese Super League – and according to reports, he’s set to become the world’s fifth highest-paid player despite a hitherto journeyman career.

And China now has four of the top-10 highest-paid players in the world, according to journalist Tancredi Palmeri.

The 30-year-old will reportedly earn 16 million a year (HK$137 million) after leaving Southampton. The fee was reported to be 13 million.

Pelle scored 30 goals in 81 games and won his first caps for Italy at Southampton, but his career has hardly been a story of non-stop success.

Until a move to Feyenoord in the Netherlands at the age of 27, Pelle had struggled to find the net at a host of Italian clubs. He was Italy’s first-choice striker at the Euros, where he led the line to impressive effect.

A statement from Southampton read: “Everyone at Southampton would like to thank Graziano for his efforts during his time at St Mary’s and wish him well for the future.”

Shandong have also signed Papiss Cisse from Newcastle United to partner Pelle up front.

The team, managed by former Bayern Munich boss Felix Magath, are struggling in the relegation zone.