West Ham United are closing in on the arrival of striker Emmanuel Emenike, despite Slaven Bilic declaring that the deal has become more difficult due to the intervention of his parent club Fenerbahce. The Nigeria international is currently on loan with Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, but widespread rumours have suggested that he is flying into London on 28 January in order to complete a medical ahead of a temporary move to Upton Park.
Bilic has previously made no secret of his desire to add another striker to his squad and such a stance does not appear to have altered despite the manager providing confirmation Andy Carroll should return to training early next week. Diafra Sakho is also expected back within a fortnight following two months out with a thigh injury.
"Yes we are still in the market," he told reporters at a press conference held before the FA Cup fourth round trip to Liverpool. "We hope that both of them [Carroll and Sakho] are going to be fit for the rest of the season but we are looking to strengthen our squad in those positions with maybe one player. We aren't going to buy a player, that's definite, but, as I said before, if we can loan one then we will do it."
Referring specifically to the potential arrival of Emenike, he added: "We are still waiting for that. It is a complicated situation because he's a Fenerbahce player but he's on loan to Al Ain. We made contact, basically they called me from Al Ain and we spoke.
"We thought that we could do a straight swap with them, but Fenerbahce has to be involved and now we are talking to Fenerbahce and we are going to see what's going to happen. It's going to be today or tomorrow or not at all.
"It was complicated. Like in the beginning, it looked easy, just between two clubs. But then when we had to deal with Fenerbahce, it was a third party.
"At one moment it didn't look good... but now in the last couple of days, according to Sky mostly, the deal is pretty much alive. So hopefully you guys are right."
Another forward widely linked with West Ham in recent days is Burak Yilmaz. The 30-year-old, who the London Evening Standard believe to be valued at £8m ($11.4m), has scored nine goals in 15 Super Lig appearances for Galatasaray so far this term, but Bilic was quick to quash any suggestion that both he and Emenike will join West Ham over the coming days.
"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."
The likely deal for Emenike and respective returns of Carroll and Sakho – combined with the strong recent form displayed by Enner Valencia – leaves Bilic with plenty of attacking options, but also casts further doubt upon Nikica Jelavic's future. The Croatian has largely failed to impress since joining West Ham from Hull City in September 2015 and could now follow Mauro Zarate in leaving the club.
"We have Jelavic who might go to China, but it is pre-season there," Bilic said of any imminent outgoings. "He's staying with us until he sorts the deal out."