Obafemi Martins leaves Seattle Sounders to join Shanghai Shenhua
Former Inter Milan, Newcastle and Birmingham striker Obafemi Martins has become the latest high-profile player to plump for a move to the Chinese Super League.
The 31-year-old Nigerian has announced he is leaving the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer to join Shanghai Shenhua, the east-coast outfit who already boast Demba Ba and Fredy Guarin among their number.
Martins, a League Cup winner with Birmingham in 2011, thanked the Sounders via his official Twitter account before saying: "For me it's now time for a new challenge.
"After significant reflection, I have decided to join Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League.
"When I left Nigeria for Italy at the age of 15 with the hopes of a pro career, I put everything on the line. I was immersed in an unknown culture.
"It may be difficult to understand or relate to, but I've grown to appreciate the feeling I get when entering environments where I'm not a proven footballer.
"Seattle will always have a special place in my heart."
The Sounders later acknowledged Martins' comments in a statement on their official website.
Martins follows the likes of Colombia winger Jackson Martinez, Brazilian midfielders Ramires and Alex Teixeira, and Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic - formerly of West Ham - in moving to China.
Gervinho, Paulinho, Mohamed Sissoko, Gael Kakuta and Asamoah Gyan are other notable footballers who currently play in the 16-team Chinese Super League. The new season begins on March 4.