Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday confirmed that star player Dario Conca has requested a transfer, due to a decrease in playing time.
The attacking midfielder joined Evergrande in 2011, scoring nine goals in 15 appearances as he helped the club toward the Chinese Super League (CSL) championship.
Conca has scored seven goals in 11 appearances this season, but has seen his minutes drop under new manager Marcelo Lippi. Summer arrival Lucas Barrios is seen to pose a threat at the position, further increasing the Argentine's discontent.
"The club was very shocked, and now we'll try our best to persuade him to stay," Evergrande chairman Liu Yongzhou told Xinhua. "We haven't gotten any bids yet; the club isn't thinking about it because we want Conca to stay with us.
"We hope that Conca will appreciate the internal competition within the club, and train harder and play better to retain his starting role."
Evergrande reached the league maximum of seven foreign players in their squad after signing Korean defender Kim Young-Gwon earlier this week.