Nicolas Anelka will train with Paris Saint-Germain this week, adding weight to speculation the well-travelled forward is looking to return to Europe and end his stay in China.
The sight of Anelka, 33, in training kit at the Camp des Loges on Wednesday provoked suggestions the striker is poised to join the ranks of his former Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti for what would be his third spell at the club as he reportedly looks to bring to an end his year-long spell at Shanghai Shenhua.
Despite Anelka enjoying an individual session with one of Ancelotti's staff, sporting director Leonardo insisted the club were merely doing their former player a favour.
"Anelka asked to train with us," the Brazilian told AFP. "We're available for him to help him maintain his fitness in the days to come."
Ancelotti also played down any talk of Anelka turning out for the club, despite admitting he remains close to the former France international.
"I had him as a player, and he's a friend," he said. "He loves this club, and is simply training with us. I'm not thinking about recruiting him.
"We'll see if he asks for a contract, but honestly, I don't think that's possible."
Though he signed a lucrative two-year deal, worth a reported annual €12 million, in China only last January, Anelka - according to French media sources - is keen on cutting short his stay in Shanghai.
Moves to Queens Park Rangers and Los Angeles Galaxy have reportedly fallen through with the two parties unable to agree wages, but Anelka would likely not be short of options should he make his ambition to return to Europe known.
Radio station RMC claims Anelka, who was born and grew up in the Paris suburbs, could return to PSG depending on the outcome of a disciplinary hearing for Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thursday.
The French Football League's (LFP) Disciplinary Commission will examine an incident involving the Swede and Dejan Lovren in which Ibrahimovic is alleged to have stamped on the Lyon defender's head in their teams' Ligue 1 encounter just before Christmas.
Should Ibrahimovic, who has already served a two-match ban for a high challenge on Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, be handed a lengthy ban, and with potential replacement Guillaume Hoarau having joined Chinese side Dalian Aerbin earlier this week, PSG may be tempted to use Anelka to plug the gap.