Saints have released Japanese striker Tadanari Lee from his contract after a two-year spell at the club.

Lee's future had been in doubt anyway with his contract due to expire this summer and Saints  have now put an end to any speculation regarding his future by ending his stay at St Mary's.

The 28-year-old arrived on the south coast from Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the 2011/12 January transfer window as Saints looked to add firepower for their Premier League promotion chase.

His most memorable moment came when he notched his first goal for Saints in spectacular fashion in a 4-0 victory over Derby County, unveiling his archer celebration. That strike earned Lee the club's Goal of the Season.

The eleven time Japanese international then added assists against Leeds and Barnsley in a fairly impressive start to his career at St Mary's.

Lee was then added to the roster of players ahead of the 2012/13 Premier League campaign, along with fellow Japan international Maya Yoshida, who moved from Dutch club VVV-Venlo.

His second and last goal came in the 4-1 cup win over Stevenage Borough and he made two further appearances against Leeds and Chelsea in cup competitions that term before a temporary move to FC Tokyo to get regular football after injuries hampered his progress.

Lee then returned to the squad and but was again limited to appearances in the Capital One Cup this season - playing in the 2-0 win over Bristol City and the 2-1 defeat to Sunderland.

With the arrival of Dani Osvaldo and the emergence of Sam Gallagher, Lee was always going to find it tough and he has been continuely pushed down the pecking order since Saints were promoted to the top-flight. 

Lee is the first member of a group of outcasts to exit St Mary's with Billy Sharp, Lee Barnard and Jonathan Forte also widely expected to leave the club in the near future.