Tianjin Quanjian were linked with the likes of Diego Costa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Radamel Falcao, but have had to settle for a more low-profile overseas signing to conclude their business ahead of the start of the Chinese Super League season.
Fabio Cannavaro's side begin their 2017 campaign at Guangzhou R and F on Saturday and will be bolstered by Brazilian striker Junior Moraes, who joins on loan from Dynamo Kiev until June.
Moraes links up with compatriot Alexandre Pato and Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel at Tianjin, who were certainly not short of ambition as the CSL embarked upon a mega-money transformation over recent months.
Interest from Tianjin was at the heart of reported unrest for Chelsea's top scorer Costa during January, while Cannavaro's commitment to his desired style of play apparently quashed attempts to bring in rejuvenated Monaco striker Falcao or Manchester United captain Rooney.
"Theoretically speaking, there is no limit on transfer budget," said Tianjin's billionaire owner Shu Yuhui.
"We can target whoever we want, but on several occasions our targets are reluctant to join us.
"We approached Diego Costa and other stars. It remains to be seen who will join us in June, but I can assure you that the new players will be on the same level as Costa.
"We had an overnight negotiation and Falcao was about to sign the contract to join us. However, the deal was scuppered by Cannavaro, who later told us he doesn't suit our style of play."
Cannavaro told Tianjin TV last week he had a similar view on Rooney, with Borussia Dortmund hotshot Aubameyang more to his taste.
"We did make an approach for Rooney, but it was just chit-chat because he simply doesn't suit our style of play," he said. "No further discussion was necessary.
"The truth is we had more frequent contact with Aubameyang. Unfortunately, our bid was rejected by Borussia Dortmund who said he was needed in this season's Champions League."
Cannavaro identified Nikola Kalinic as his primary attacking target, although the Fiorentina striker opted to stay in European football and questioned the logic of anyone paying a €50million for his services.
Those setbacks have combined to give Moraes his opportunity. The 29-year-old former Santos player boasts an impressive return of 10 goals in 16 Ukrainian top-flight appearances this season.
"I think this is a good option for me," Moraes told Dynamo's official website. "This is a popular and promising football direction, a new market which in recent years has been booming.
"The Super League serves many prominent players at European and world level, making China a very interesting championship. It is a great challenge for me."
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