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Graziano Pelle leaving Southampton for China - Sky sources

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle celebrates after scoring against Newcastle at St Mary's Stadium
Image: Southampton signed Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord two years ago

Graziano Pelle is set to swap Southampton for China in a £13m deal next week, according to Sky sources.

The Italy striker had an impressive Euro 2016 and had been linked with a move to join outgoing Azzurri manager Antonio Conte at Chelsea.

But Sky Sports News HQ understands Pelle is set to leave St Mary's not for west London, but the Far East.

Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng is believed to be the destination, and the £13m deal means Saints will make a £4m profit on the man they signed from Feyenoord two years ago.

Graziano Pelle of Italy celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Italy and Spain
Image: Pelle will leave Southampton for China next week, according to Sky sources

Pelle, who turns 31 next week, only has a year remaining on his Southampton deal and the Premier League club were believed to have been reluctant to offer an extension.

The forward is understood to have been eyeing a move to China since January, which is part of the reason behind the timing of Saints' move for QPR's Charlie Austin.

Graziano Pelle, Belgium v Italy, November 2015
Image: Pelle is set to join Shandong Luneng

A ready-made replacement, Austin will compete with Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long in the attacking positions once Pelle's move is complete.

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Saints, understood to be actively searching for a defensive midfielder to replace Victor Wanyama, signed Nathan Redmond from Norwich in a £10m deal just days before collecting a club-record fee of £36m when Sadio Mane moved to Liverpool.