It was the biggest game of the season so far in the Chinese Super League , but Monday morning’s headlines have not been dominated by the end of Beijing Guoan’s winning run. Nor was it the champions ending it with a 2-1 win and cutting the gap at the top to two points. That’s not to say that Shanghai SIPG have not been involved, far from it. Part of that is down to Elkeson, the club’s Brazilian striker. The forward has scored 50 times since arriving in Shanghai from Guangzhou Evergrande and became the second top scorer in Chinese football history this season behind former teammate Wu Lei. He is also the top scoring foreigner, with 94 goals. The Chinese media appear convinced that Elkeson will make history as the first Chinese player to be naturalised through residency criteria rather than ancestry. Even the latter is new, with John Hou Saeter and Nico Yennaris leading that particular charge at the start of this season. All three were in action on the Shanghai Stadium pitch on Sunday night and the belief is that they might one day be on the same pitch for the Chinese national team. If that happens then it marks rapid change – even from the start of the season when naturalised players saw their debuts delayed. Hopes of Elkeson being allowed to play for China have long been shared by football fans on social media and the player was asked about it in 2017 by Brazilian media. Whether he was only being polite or expressing a genuine desire, the player indicated he would like to play for China in the future. Elkeson might lead the way but he is already expected to be followed. Ricardo Goulart has returned to Guangzhou Evergrande after just four months on loan at Brazilian side Palmeiras. That number might have a part to play in the next chapter of the story as it means that Goulart will not have lived outside of China for the majority of the year. On his return, Goulart told the local press it, “Feels like I am coming home.” It might soon be home. Goulart, the second top-scoring foreigner in CSL history, is expected to follow his fellow Brazilian Elkeson in ditching their citizenship to become Chinese and help fire the country to a second World Cup, according to the Oriental Sports Daily . Neither player has played for Brazil – both were called up but never left the bench. They have not even featured under Tite, a man who proved he had no problem picking players based in the Chinese Super League. With the door shut on the Selecao you can understand why it might be tempting to play international football for someone else. That could be as soon as 2020 for Goulart and this September for Elkeson, according to reports, and that falls into the qualifying period for World Cup 2022. Something that has returned to being an uphill task since Fifa announced last week that they would not expand the Qatar tournament to 48 teams. Marcello Lippi was announced as the man who would mastermind that and Chinese reports indicate that naturalised players were a part of the reason for him coming back. There have been no official details of what salary he has agreed with the Chinese FA to return to a job that he left in January but it appears that once again it is to be paid by his former CSL club Guangzhou Evergrande. Lippi told Italian media that he had agreed a year contract to take in the first set of World Cup qualifiers and while it remains to be seen if even the already eligible Saeter and Yennaris make his first squad next month, some fans are already getting carried away with future line-ups. These include the possibility of naturalising Tianjin Tianhai’s Alan Carvalho and Chongqing Lifan’s Fernandinho in the coming years. The idea has not gone down well with everyone – and one of them might be in charge of the Chinese FA, as much as anyone can be “in charge” of Chinese football. Shanghai SIPG chairman Chen Xuyuan has been put in interim charge of the CFA and head of the committee to find a new head. He is expected to be named in permanent charge as soon as this week. It is notable that SIPG do not have any naturalised players this season. It’s elsewhere been argued that China may need to consider naturalised basketball talent as other Asian teams have improved considerably by following that programme. Such a move will make for an interesting dialogue on what it means to be Chinese and assumptions about what more than a billion people think of that, but it is already a complicated issue in fields more serious than sport. Some see these reports as the CFA testing the water. What might be simpler is another Chinese player heading overseas. Espanyol are reported to want to add another alongside Wu Lei and speculation is linking his former Shanghai SIPG teammate Yan Junling, the winner of the last two Chinese goalkeeper of the year awards.