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Any lingering ambitions that West Ham United may have harboured regarding a renewed pursuit of Burak Yilmaz appear to have been permanently scuppered, after he became the latest in a long line of European-based footballers to head for China in 2016. The experienced Galatasaray striker has now officially completed his long-mooted move to Beijing Guoan, following a successful four-year stint at Turk Telekom Arena that included two Super Lig titles and four Turkish Cup wins.
Yilmaz and Fenerbahce's Emmanuel Emenike were both linked with potential transfers to the Premier League for several days in the build-up to January's transfer deadline, as West Ham looked to add a new forward to their ranks with Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho both sidelined. Galatasaray previously claimed that West Ham offered €5m (£3.8m, $5.5m) for the player, only to be turned down when it emerged that he did not demand to leave. Slaven Bilic, meanwhile, made it perfectly clear that he was only willing to commit to a loan deal.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Hammers' first FA Cup fourth-round tie against Liverpool, he said: "It won't be both, no. With Burak, it's a different situation because they are looking to sell him. If they are going to let him go, they are looking to sell. And as I said, we are not buying now."
Emenike did eventually arrive at Upton Park until the end of the 2015-16 campaign, cutting short a similar agreement with Abu Dhabi club Al Ain. The Nigerian international, who can be signed permanently during the summer, has yet to find the target for his new club in two substitute appearances against Southampton and Norwich City.
No official fee for Yilmaz has yet been disclosed, although the Shanghai Daily reports that the deal is believed to be worth in the region of €8m. The 31-year-old is thought to have signed a three-year contract at the Workers' Stadium and could make his debut for Alberto Zaccheroni's side as they open the 2016 Chinese Super League (CSL) season away to Tianjin Teda on 6 March. The Imperial Guards finished fourth last term, 11 points adrift of champions Guangzhou Evergrande and three short of a place in the second qualifying round of the AFC Champions League.
The growing list of high-profile players to arrive in Chinese football this year includes ex-Chelsea midfielder Ramires and fellow Brazilian Alex Teixeira, both of whom joined Jiangsu Suning for big money last month. Jackson Martinez, Gervinho and Fredy Guarin have also moved to East Asia, while Nikica Jelavic recently left West Ham for second-tier side Beijing Renhe. Earlier on 17 February, Hebei China Fortune finalised their capture of Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi from Paris Saint-Germain.