Italy striker Graziano Pelle has snubbed a move to Chelsea in favour of signing for 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.
Chelsea had been heavily linked as reports claimed new boss Antonio Conte would like the Italian international at Stamford Bridge. However, the mega-riches of the Chinese Super League have won the day.
Southampton confirmed the Italian’s departure on Monday for an undisclosed fee, which is believed to be worth around £13million.
A statement on 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.”
Conte has already signed Michy Batshuayi this summer but is in the hunt for another striker and will have to look elsewhere after Pelle opted for China.