​Chelsea could face fierce competition for reported forward target Graziano Pelle this summer, with reports that Chinese Super League teams are preparing to flex their impressive financial muscle once again after a winter of non-stop transfer action. 

Pelle made his international debut under incoming Blues manager Antonio Conte in 2014, with the former Juventus manager said to be keen to work with the Southampton striker once again. 

However, the ​Daily Star report that Shanghai Greenland Shenhua are preparing a massive contract for the forward, who turns 31 later this month. 

The veteran striker’s contract with the Saints has just a year left to run on it, with the club reportedly already informing him that they don’t intend to extend the deal and will move him on to a new club this summer if possible – hoping for a hefty £20m from his sale. 

With money talking more than ever with players reaching the end of their career, the £150k-a-week said to be on the table from the Chinese club could turn Pelle’s head, convincing him to leave Europe and the traditional ‘big leagues’ to join the likes of Fredy Guarin and Demba Ba in the Chinese capital. 

Shanghai would also likely be willing and able to come up with the £20m fee demanded by Claude Puel’s side, while Chelsea and Everton – linked via new manager Ronald Koeman, who managed Pelle at St Mary’s – would likely be reluctant to pay over the odds for an ageing player.

Chelsea have moved on one striker already this summer, signing Michy Batshuayi from Marseille for a fee in the region of £33m, with conflicting reports about whether that purchase means the end of Diego Costa’s time in the Premier League. 

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