Nikica Jelavic
West Ham striker Nikica Jelavic is the latest European-based player to complete a move to Chinese football Getty

Nikica Jelavic has left West Ham and completed a move to Beijing Renhe of China League One, co-chairman David Gold confirmed on 16 February. The Croatian striker only arrived at Upton Park from Hull for £3m ($4.3m) last summer, becoming one of four signings on a busy deadline day that also included loan deals for Alex Song and Victor Moses in addition to the permanent capture of Michail Antonio.

He eventually made just two starts in all competitions for Slaven Bilic's side, however, scoring twice in 15 total appearances with a late winner in the FA Cup third-round win over Wolves and a second-half consolation in the 2-1 Premier League defeat at Newcastle. A potential switch to East Asia has been rumoured for several weeks now with the Chinese transfer market not set to close for business until the end of the month.

West Ham are yet to release anything official with regards to Jelavic's exit, although Gold has now confirmed that the deal is finally complete. Initial speculation placed the fee as high as £9m, but the Daily Mail reports that the actual price stands at approximately £4m.


Taking to his personal Twitter account, Gold said: "Nikica Jelavic has completed his move to Chinese second division team Beijing Renhe. Good luck. Nikica. dg."

Jelavic, who was formerly prolific for Rangers in Scotland before a two-year stint with Everton, becomes the latest player to leave Europe for China. Brazilian midfielder Ramires departed Chelsea for Super League (CSL) side Jiangsu Suning in a £25m deal in January, shortly followed by compatriot Alex Teixeira, despite the former Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker attracting strong interest from Liverpool.

Defending CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande completed a big surprise with the high-profile £31m addition of striker Jackson Martinez from Atletico Madrid, while Gervinho and Fredy Guarin have joined Hebei China Fortune and Shanghai Shenhua respectively.

In other West Ham news, Gold confirmed that he hopes Manuel Lanzini will be fit to travel to Ewood Park for the FA Cup last-16 clash with Blackburn Rovers. The popular Argentine midfielder, currently on loan from Abu Dhabi-based Al Jazira Club, has been sidelined since suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury against Liverpool in early January. The original problem had kept the 23-year-old out for a month, but he is now closing in on a return to first-team action.

"I'm hoping Lanzini travels to Blackburn," Gold replied to a supporter asking for an update on when Lanzini and striker Diafra Sakho will be available for selection once again.