Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco can end his turbulent spell in China this year if he is desperately unhappy, his club said, in comments which will alert top European sides including Arsenal and AC Milan.
The 25-year-old was strongly linked with a move away from Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Yifang during the winter transfer window.
Mooted moves to Arsenal and AC Milan failed to materialise and Carrasco, who joined Dalian from Atletico Madrid in February last year for a reported 10.5 million euros, stayed put.
But Dalian’s general manager Zhou Jun opened the door to his departure, telling the Dalian City News: “He has a contract with the club and cannot just leave when he wants.
“But if Carrasco finally decides to go back to Europe, then we will try to find a good way for both sides to solve the problem.
“If there is any difficulty, let’s see whose difficulty is bigger. If it’s harder for the club, I believe Carrasco will stay.
“If it’s harder for Carrasco, both the club and fans will understand him (leaving this summer).”
Zhou added that Dalian had also chased Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani and Atletico’s Diego Costa.
Carrasco has been one of the star performers in Chinese football for the past 14 months and has clocked up three goals and one assist in five matches this season.
But he has been consistently linked with a move back to Europe and in November apologised after a training-ground scuffle that left team-mate Jin Pengxiang needing hospital treatment.
Carrasco, who featured for Belgium at the World Cup and has 35 caps for his country, has struggled to settle in China, said Zhou.
“His wife stayed with him last season, but this term, he sees her only occasionally,” said Zhou.
“In this respect, Carrasco needs to endure loneliness.”