Sport

Graziano Pelle is now the sixth highest paid footballer in the world

£260,000. Two hundred and sixty thousand pounds. Enough to buy a house (outside of London). A figure most men could only dream about earning.

Well now one footballer – because of course it is - has just put pen to paper in a deal worth a whopping £260,000 per week.

Has Andrés Iniesta reunited with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City? Have Barcelona just plundered more of the world’s best striking talent by snapping up Welsh goal machine Hal Robson-Kanu? Well no, actually, the answer is far more surprising than that…

Graziano Pelle, the impossibly good-looking and slightly-better-than-average striker for Southampton, has just become the sixth highest-paid player in the world after his transfer to the Chinese Super League outfit Shandong Luneng.

We’re not sure what that equates to in yuan but we can guess it’s in the trillions, moving him just behind Zlatan in annual earnings. Here’s how the top earning list looks now.

Cristiano Ronaldo – £17m
Lionel Messi £16.9m
Hulk £16.9m
Neymar £16m
Zlatan Ibrahimovic £13.5m
Graziano Pelle £13.5m
Thomas Muller £11.4m
Ezequiel Lavezzi £11m
Jackson Martinez £10.5m
Thiago Silva £10m

Recently rumoured to be joining departing Italy coach Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge to pull on the blue of Chelsea, and having just won plaudits across the board for his performances in Italy’s campaign at Euro 2016, the 30-year-old is arguably in the best form of his career.

And now, rather than playing the best teams in the world, he’ll be joining the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Pappis Cisse to play against teams he’s probably never heard of. Which, in the eternal words of Mrs Merton, begs the obvious question.

What first attracted you to extremely-minted Chinese football club Shandong Luneng? Answers on a postcard please, Graziano.