Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan is planning to switch Sun Jihai from right-back to a midfield role following the arrival of Danny Mills.
Sun Jihai joined City for £2m in 2002
The signing of Mills has put the future of the 26-year-old, who has one year left on his contract, in doubt.
But Keegan said: "Sun Jihai will cover us at right-back and left-back but I also want to see if he can play central midfield. He does that for China.
"I believe he has the engine for that slot - it may or may not work."
City have announced they will play Serie A side Lazio at Eastlands in their final pre-season friendly on 7 August.