Shanghai Shenhua's marquee signings Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka could soon be back on the market, with the club facing a financial crisis.
The Shenhua chairman, Zhu Jun, who owns a 28.5% stake in the club, is demanding more control over how it operates, and if his request is not met, he is likely to withdraw his funding.
Jun had an agreement with the Chinese Super League outfit that, if he invested £15 million over a two-year period, he would be able to increase his stake to more than 70%.
The other stakeholders are five separate state-owned companies, who have reportedly failed to put any money into the club, while Jun has spent over £60 million since he became involved with Shenhua in 2007.
Shares should have been transferred in 2009, and the delay has angered Jun.
"It is annoying and has had a bad effect on many of our tasks," a club official said. "The biggest problem is that the operation and financing work of the club cannot be carried out normally. The equity stakes issue has become the biggest bottleneck for the development of Shenhua."
Colombian forward Giovanni Moreno missed the club's game at the weekend, fuelling speculation that Shenhua had been unable to pay his transfer fee to former club Racing of Argentina.
If Jun were to withdraw his investment, the likes of Drogba and Anelka would most likely to be the first to leave, due to their high wages, with each of them earning over £190,000 per week.