The Guangdong-based club raced away with the Super League title last term but Shanghai Shenhua signed Nicolas Anelka in December, increasing the competition for the title in 2012Chinese champions and big spenders Guangzhou Evergrande are ready to splash €30 million for a European star, according to a report.
Guangzhou-based football newspaper Football claims the club who made Argentine Dario Conca one of the world's highest earning players when they signed him from Fluminense last year are set for another coup.
Among the candidates believed to be on Guangzhou's target list are Fulham's Bryan Ruiz, Bayer Leverkusen pair Stefan Kiessling and Gonzalo Castro and Borussia Dortmund's Lucas Barrios.
Guangzhou coach Lee Jang-Soo is understood to have travelled to Germany in December where he scouted the players. Reports suggest the club put forward offers, but were told the Bundesliga outfits wanted to wait until after the January transfer window.
Barrios, in particular, almost left Dortmund for Fulham in January, having struggled to claim a regular starting spot this term. Meanwhile, Kiessling and Castro have also battled to be regular starters for Leverkusen.
The Chinese champions had previously filled their foreign quota of five, but it's believed Lee was unimpressed with Brazilian defender Paulao in pre-season and wants to replace him.
Guangzhou made headlines worldwide last year when they reportedly spent €10m to sign Conca on a contract believed to be worth €26.5m over two and a half years.
The Chinese outfit raced away with the Super League title last term, eventually winning the crown by 15 points from nearest rivals Beijing Guoan, following several big-name signings by the club owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group.
However, Shanghai Shenhua have offered competition to Guangzhou's dominance after they landed Nicolas Anelka from Chelsea in December. Shenhua have been linked with several big-name players since.