Shanghai Shenhua have denied making an offer for Australia coach Ange Postecoglou and said they would be unlikely to appoint a foreign manager at his 'level'.
The 52-year-old had been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League club after it become apparent he will step down from Socceroos head coach role after November's intercontinental World Cup playoff against Honduras.
The Daily Telegraph reported Shenhua had offered Postecoglou $3.8 million-a-year to take over from the recently sacked Gus Poyet, with the job currently being filled on a caretaker basis by technical director Wu Jingui.
But a spokesperson for the Chinese club dismissed any link to the Australian, while also aiming thinly-veiled criticism at his coaching ability.
"Our current coach is Wu Jingui. He and his backroom staff retain the full backing of the club as we are inching toward the end of the season," the spokesperson told Oriental Sports Daily.
"Even if we feel the need to find a foreign coach in the future, the club perhaps will not appoint a guy who is on the same level as the Australian coach."
It's believed the Chinese haven't forgotten Postecoglou's past criticism of the their Super League, when he said the A-League was way ahead in terms of intensity and general level of game.
Postecoglou will lead the Socceroos in a two-leg playoff against CONCACAF's Honduras on November 10 and 15 for a spot in Russia, but will then leave the job straight after, even if Australia qualify for the World Cup.