Australian striker Joel Griffiths revealed he could be heading back to the A-League next season – with former club Newcastle Jets his preferred destination.
Griffiths, who was player of the year and golden boot with 12 goals as Newcastle won the title in 2008, is enduring a frustrating fourth year in China with new club Shanghai Shenhua – the home of Didier Drogba – which is in free-fall.
To make matters worse, Griffiths has been plagued by a niggling knee injury and hasn't played for two months.
He joined big-spending Shanghai, which also snared brooding Frenchman Nicolas Anelka pre season, after three successful years at high flying Beijing Guoan.
Griffiths has been linked with a return to his former stomping ground in China but insists he is unlikely to be going anywhere until his contract expires in December, with the A-League foremost in his thinking beyond that.
"Returning to Australia at the end of my contract is definitely a strong possibility," Griffiths said. "My wife and I have talked about it lately and it’s certainly on the cards.
"I have been in China four years year and it's been a great adventure but it’s a long time and I am more than open to the prospect of coming home.
"I've said I want to return to Australia at some stage with my family and I can see a move happening sooner rather than later.
"If it happens, the Jets would be my first choice. Hopefully the fact I'm a proven scorer, somebody who can get maybe 10 a season, would work in my favour and make me attractive to teams."
Still a cult figure at the Jets, Griffiths, who turns 33 next month, still believes he has plenty to offer prospective suitors.
"Obviously I can also play on the right wing, which I have been doing with Shanghai in the games I've played so far this season, not that's its necessarily my preference," he said.
"My body feels good, I'm in good shape overall. I do quite a bit of pilates and have never had any major injuries. Touch wood, I will hopefully to able to play at a good level for another three or four years.
"I am back in training with Shanghai and I am keen to get back playing as soon as I can. That said, it makes no sense to rush things and risk setting myself back.
"Things happen for a reason and I will stay positive and bide my time. It's not serious, it's more of a niggle."
Sidelined for two months with fluid on his left knee, Griffiths – who has scored twice in seven appearances this season – remains a figure of frustration as Shanghai slumps in the Chinese Super League. The club is only two spots above the drop zone, with just 15 points and 11 goals from 14 games this season.
Drogba, not due in China until mid July, is walking in a potential hornets nest in Shanghai, according to Griffiths.
"It's pretty scary over here right now and the club's in a bit of turmoil," he said.
"Nic Anelka even got attacked by one of our on fans after the game at the weekend. That's crazy stuff."
Central Coast Mariners striker Daniel McBreen has signed on loan with Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG until 31 October.