Shanghai Shenhua are open to signing Carlos Tevez to a contract extension, despite an apparently fractured relationship between the Argentine star and his club.
Tevez has struggled with form and fitness since joining the Chinese Super League side in December for a deal worth £615,000 per week.
The striker was not named to the game-day squad for either match of Shenhua's recent triumph over Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese FA Cup final, with the 33-year-old abruptly flying home to Argentina upon learning he wouldn't dress for Sunday's second leg.
Although the club acknowledged that Tevez has failed to meet expectations, Shenhua aren't ruling out a return in 2018.
"We decided to buy Tevez because the AFC Champions League qualifying phase was about to begin and at that time the new rules [to curb expensive signings] did not come to light," Shenhua deputy general manager Zhou Jun told Shanghai TV.
"Tevez was playing quite well in both Boca Juniors and Juventus. And since there was an arms race going on [in the CSL], our club needed a player who has a reputation and universal appeal.
"Of course, in the end, he is not living up to those expectations. But he keeps working very hard to be in contention to play.
"As for whether or not to extend his contract next year, it has to be a mutual choice. His future hinges on the outcome of further negotiations between the two parties."
Tevez has scored four goals in 16 CSL matches for Shenhua.