James Holland's transfer from Adelaide United to Liaoning Whowin is in limbo due to the new rule changes that could threaten the careers of Australian players in China.
The Chinese Football Association has announced a new ruling that limits the number of foreign players that each Chinese Super League team are permitted to field in each match to three.
Currently teams are allowed to sign up to four foreigners -- as well as one player from another Asian nation, in what is known as the 4+1 rule -- but cannot use more than four foreign players in a match.
With the new ruling in place, Holland's chance of playing in China looks to have been severely impacted.
The 27-year-old flew to China on the weekend to seal the move but an Adelaide United spokesperson said on Monday it's unclear if it will go through.
The club expects to find out more by Wednesday.
Socceroo Robbie Kruse is with Holland in China and is also set to sign with Liaoning Whowin, with their deals brokered by the same agents.
It's not known if the news will impact his transfer or any of the other Australians based in China.
Adelaide midfielder Isaias -- who signed a three-year contract extension with the A-League club last week -- said players haven't been told if Holland will return or not.
"I'm not sure. I think the coach said he's leaving to China but I'm not sure how the situation is," he said.
Socceroos Trent Sainsbury, Apo Giannou, Matthew Spiranovic and Ryan McGowan all currently play in the CSL, while Michael Thwaite and Dario Vidosic are contracted to Liaoning Whowin but could be released to make way for Holland and Kruse.
It has been easy for Australians to play in China because of the 4+1 rule, but new foreign player limits could trigger a different recruiting approach from clubs, who have disrupted the global transfer market by making huge offers for players in their prime, such as Oscar and Alex Teixeira.
Incidentally, it comes as Football Federation Australia confirmed the A-League would impliment the 4+1 rule from the 2018-19 season onwards.