The Asian Football Confederation announced on Sunday that Elkeson was among the players registered by them as eligible to play for China in their upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.
The announcement ended weeks of speculation as to whether the Brazil-born striker would be naturalised to play for the country he has called home for the last six years.
Elkeson arrived at Guanghzhou Evergrande in 2013 and immediately helped the side to their first AFC Champions League victory, along with claiming his first Chinese Super League winners medal. The striker also won the AFC Champions League in 2015 and lifted the league title in each of his three seasons in Guangzhou before he moved to Shanghai SIPG in 2016.
It was a move described as "for national glory" at the time, but while he could not fire his new club to AFC Champions League success, regularly falling at the regional final stage, he did help them to win the Chinese Super League last year, and in doing so end Evergrande's run of seven titles in a row.
Elkeson rejoined the Guangzhou side in this summer transfer window and he has since been in fine form. The striker has now become the highest scoring player in Chinese Super League history, overtaking former Shanghai SIPG teammate Wu Lei. He has also been integral in maintaining an unbeaten run that has taken the team back to the top of the table.
The return to Evergrande was widely seen as proof of his impending naturalisation to become Chinese.
Nico Yennaris had already become the first naturalised footballer to represent China in June. The London-born Beijing Guoan midfielder was eligible to naturalise because of Chinese ancestry on his mother's side.
Elkeson, on the other hand, is eligible to represent the country on account of living in China for more than five years.
It is expected the striker will join his new international teammates on September 2 when Marcello Lippi's side meet ahead of their first qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. China's first game is against the Maldives on September 10 before hosting Guam in October in a group A that also includes the Philippines, and Syria.
The Italian manager said on his return to the China role that he would leave it for a second time if he failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. It was reported at the time of his reappointment just four months after leaving that he had demanded China explore naturalising players to give the country the best chance of a second finals appearance.
However, not everyone is happy with the new-look side.
Former China striker Hao Haidong, who played in China's sole appearance at the World Cup in 2002, spoke out during a lengthy profile piece in Southern People Weekly.
"The naturalised players in our football team nowadays, they have no blood ties with the country. This is scary, are we becoming better even if we become the World Champion? So just because the FIFA policy allows naturalization, should countries around the world do that?" he asked.
"We often talk about the Chinese being the successors of the dragon, and we intend to promote confidence within the Chinese culture. You want to have long-term growth and be a strong country in the world. But just for one World Cup, you are getting all these naturalised players on the team."
"You need to take a look at what the other countries did in naturalising players. They are naturalising those who lived in the country for years, and those with cultural connections," criteria which Elkeson fulfils.
"Or else you would be like some of the middle eastern countries: They have too much money to waste. So they got one or two players to play in the games. They do not care. They just want to use the money for some fun. This should not be the case for China," he said.
Hao also said people will ask how a country of 1.4 billion cannot find 11 footballers. That sentiment was echoed by commenters on social media in response to the news.
Some referred to "digusting bloodless naturalisation" and "mercenaries" but others were more welcoming, praising Elkeson's attitude on the pitch during his time in China.
Whatever the views of those online, Elkeson is unlikely to be the last player to naturalise.
Globo Sports said Elkeson's Guangzhou Evergrande teammate Ricardo Goulart has applied to renounce his Brazilian citizenship and the process is expected to be completed by 2020. The forward returned to the Chinese club from a loan spell in his native Brazil this summer.
Other players in line for future China caps are fellow Brazilians Alan Carvalho, Aloisio and Fernandinho.
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