Coach Ange Postecoglou concedes Matt Spiranovic could find his Socceroos spot at risk should the first-choice centre-back start playing in China's second tier.
Spiranovic's club Hangzhou Greentown were officially relegated from the Chinese Super League following Sunday's final-round draw with Yanbian Fude.
Despite still having a year to run on his lucrative contract, the Geelong-born 28-year-old may consider moving to yet another club in search of better football as Australia progress through the final phase of World Cup qualifying.
Postecoglou, who already harbours some concerns about the standard of China's first division, wasn't convinced the second would provide Spiranovic with the quality required for the national team.
"It wouldn't be great to be honest, we want our players playing at the highest possible level," Postecoglou said.
"With someone like Matty, who has had a pretty strong season and has come back into the Socceroos squad after missing a few games and has done well the last couple of games, I'd like to see him at the highest possible level.
"Those kinds of decisions are down to the players and what they feel is best for their careers.
"If he does stay and plays there we'll measure it as we do everything else.
"His performances will be measured against the opposition he's playing against."
It's unclear whether Hangzhou, who had been in the Chinese top flight since 2007, would even want to meet Spiranovic's salary in the Chinese League One.
A vital part of the Socceroos' defensive spine, Spiranovic has amassed 33 caps since 2008, a good chunk of them in the last three years since Postecoglou took over.
He is already well-travelled, having played stints in Germany for FC Nurnberg, Japan for Urawa Red Diamonds, Qatar for Al-Arabi and a successful two years in Australia with Western Sydney during which he won an A-League premiership and Asian Champions League.