Once the target of MLS teams, French striker Nicolas Anelka has been added coaching duties to his other responsibilities with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
The club said Thursday Anelka would become a player-coach while stating head coach Jean Tigana remained on board.
A Shenhua official confirmed reports the club had dismissed three assistant coaches after winning only two of five matches so far this season, but said Tigana was still in his position.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea player, the most high-profile foreigner to sign for the Chinese league, joined Shenhua in January amid hopes he could boost performances at the club, which finished in the bottom half of the standings last season. Anelka, who is also team captain, said the change marked a "new beginning" for the team.
"Being a coach and being a player are different, but I will have a better connection with my teammates on the field," Internet portal Sina quoted him as telling a news conference.