Pelle to quit Southampton
Southampton are negotiating the sale of Graziano Pelle to Chinese Super League club, Shandong Luneng. The deal, reportedly said to be around 13 million pounds should be completed by next week. Shandong are said to have offered him a weekly wage of around 125,000 pounds.
Pelle, an Italy international, scored against Belgium and Spain in the ongoing European Cup before his side were ousted by Germany in the quarter-finals. The match was decided on penalties after 120 minutes couldn’t separate the two sides. Pelle incidentally couldn’t covert his spot kick.
Shandong Luneng is based in Jinan, Shandong and their home stadium has a seating capacity of over 56,000. The current professional team was established in December, 1993. They were one of the founders of the first fully professional top tier league in China. They have gone on to win their domestic league in 1999, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Shandong beat Australian team Sydney FC to enter the quarter-finals of the 2016 AFC Champions League. Incidentally, Asia’s flagship club tournament is organized in a calendar year basis unlike its European counterpart. Also, the final is played over two legs. The tournament is set to resume in August.
Pelle is in the final year of his contract at Southampton. The striker, who won the Dutch Eredivisie under Louis Van Gaal in 2008-09, turns 31 next week. He joined Southampton in 2014 for 8 million euros and reunited with Ronald Koeman, under whom he had played at AZ and Feyenoord. He scored 16 and 14 goals respectively in his two seasons with the English club.
If the deal goes through Southampton stand to make a profit of 5 million euros on the player. Pelle would be the third high profile player to exit Southampton this summer following the departures of Victor Wanyama to Tottenham Hotspur and Sadio Mane to Liverpool. It would be interesting to see if Southampton manager, Claude Puel, opts to get a replacement as the club had already signed Charlie Austin in January and also have options in Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez.