Pelle leaves Southampton for Shandong Luneng

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EXCLUSIVE: players split on value of China move

Shandong Luneng has completed the signing of Graziano Pelle from Southampton for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League side has confirmed.

Pelle moved to St. Mary's Stadium from Feyenoord in 2014 and made 81 appearances for the club, scoring 30 goals.

The striker's impact earned him a first Italy cap against Malta in October 2014, and his impressive displays culminated in a place in Antonio Conte's squad for UEFA EURO 2016.

"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," a Southampton statement read.

The Italy international follows Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, who joined Liverpool and Tottenham, respectively, out of the exit at St. Mary's.

But Southampton – now under Claude Puel's leadership since Ronald Koeman's departure for Everton – is closing in on the signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Bayern Munich.

Shandong, coached by former Fulham boss Felix Magath, signed Papiss Cisse from Newcastle United on Sunday (AEST) and sits 15th in the Chinese Super League.