Southampton are in talks with Chinese club, Shandong Leung, over a £13m deal for striker Graziano Pelle, 31.
The Italian, who played a key role in the Azzurri run to this summer’s Euro 2016 quarter-finals, was expected to follow former manager, Ronald Koeman, to Goodison Park but no contact has been made by the Toffees so far.
The Saints board have decided to cash in on Pelle as he enters the final year of his contract. Recently appointed manager Claude Puel is not actively seeking a replacement for the striker with Charlie Austin, recruited in January, Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez already at the club.
Shandong have prepared to give Pelle a contract worth more than £100,000 per week to entice him to finish his career in the Super League. With Southampton not interested in extending his stay on the south coast, the Italian is open to a move away.
Everton may be spurred into action by the Chinese interest. Ronald Koeman brought Pelle from Feyenoord two years ago and developed him into an Italian international at a late stage in his career. Two goals in Euro 2016 enhanced Pelle’s reputation and a move to a bigger club was expected.
A change in direction to the Far East seems more likely now. Whether the player agrees remains to be seen.
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