Southampton have confirmed the departure of Italy striker Graziano Pelle to Chinese club Shandong Luneng.
Pelle, who turns 31 on July 15, had only one year remaining on his Southampton deal and had been linked with a move away from St Mary’s Stadium during the January transfer window.
The Barclays Premier League club confirmed the Italian’s departure on Monday for an undisclosed fee, which is believed to be worth around £12million.
A statement on www.saintsfc.co.uk read: “Everyone at Southampton Football Club would like to thank Graziano for his efforts during his time at St Mary’s and wish him well for the future.”
Top10 best paid
1 CR7 21m€
2 Messi 20
3 Hulk 20
4 Neymar 19
5 Ibra 16
6 Pellé 16
7 TMüller 13.5
9 JacksonM. 12.5
10 TSilva 12
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Pelle joined Southampton from Dutch side Feyenoord in the summer of 2014, and went on to make 81 appearances, scoring 30 goals.
Following an impressive Euro 2016, the Italy striker had been linked with a move to join outgoing Azzurri manager Antonio Conte at Chelsea.
However, the forward is understood to have been eyeing a move to China since January, which saw Southampton move for QPR’s Charlie Austin.
Southampton may have sold Victor Wanyama to Tottenham and Sadio Mane to Liverpool, but the south-coast club have also been active in the transfer window, with the signing of England under-21 forward Nathan Redmond from Norwich in a £10million deal.
Bayern Munich midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is also expected to formalise his transfer as recently-appointed manager Claude Puel continues to build towards the new Premier League campaign.