When it comes to football, the old adage that age is just a number simply isn’t true. While modern standards of physiotherapy, nutrition and fitness allow players to last at the top level for longer than ever today, once a player hits the age of 30 – young in practically any other walk of life – it’s still seen by most that they’re on their way down.
Take Cristiano Ronaldo for instance – he’s still the best player on the planet but every man and his dog is predicting his downfall to come sooner rather than later now he’s past the big 30. And so it makes sense that clubs – looking to make an investment, after all – would look to buy younger rather than older players.
Sometimes, however, even older players can fetch fortunes on the inflated transfer market. These are the ten most expensive players over the age of 30 in football history.
#10 Graziano Pelle - £13m, Southampton to Shandong Luneng, 2016
Italian striker Pelle wasn’t exactly a goal machine at Southampton – 30 goals over the course of two seasons isn’t bad of course, but not exactly up to Harry Kane standards – but to be fair, the £13m that Chinese side Shandong Luneng paid for him in the summer of 2016, after a pretty strong Euro 2016 showing, now sounds like a paltry sum in comparison to some of the crazy fees being thrown around today.
The only crazy thing about Pelle’s move, of course? His insane wage packet. While people have lambasted the likes of Hulk for taking what seems to be easy money by moving to the Chinese Super League, perhaps you can’t blame Pelle for making the move at the age of 31 when a lot of players his age would be sliding into irrelevancy.
Pelle’s reportedly making approximately £260,000 a week – more than most Premier League players and more than the highest paid player currently in Pelle’s native Serie A.
Refreshingly, Pelle even admitted he made the move purely for the money. And given his poor goalscoring record since the move – eight goals in thirty games – it seems like he’s the one who’s come up trumps in the bigger picture.