Chinese Super League side, Guangzhou Evergrande confirmed today that they have turned down an official approach from Barcelona for midfielder Paulinho.
Barcelona's 20M euro offer for Paulinho falls flat
The Catalans are reported to have made a 20 million euro offer for the Brazilian, but the defending Super League champions remain adamant that their plan is to hold on to the 28-year-old midfielder, who signed a contract extension with Evergrande back in January, tying him to the club until 2020. The player's buy-out fee is 40 million euros.
Guangzhou issued a statement today in which they underlined how Paulinho is an important part of the club’s long-term plans. “Paulinho, having already renewed his contract in January 2017, is an important player for our club's long-term project. Therefore, our club have given a formal response to Barcelona that we reject their bid for Paulinho. We would like to express our gratitude to Barcelona who have reserved a high degree of admiration for our club as well as our player”, the club said on Thursday.
Paulinho reinvents himself in China
Paulinho moved to China in 2015 after a uninpsiring spell at Tottenham Hotspur, where he mustered just 10 goals in 67 outings. However he has blossomed at Evergrande - becoming one of the top players in Asia. That has been borne out by his figures - 27 goals in 89 games, and winning a host of domestic and continental honours including the Chinese FA and FA Super Cups as well as the AFC Champions League.
His return to form has also earned him a recall at international level with Brazil. Tite, his former coach at Corinthians, included him in the side for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in March, and Paulinho responded with a hat trick against Uruguay.
Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has already stated that in no terms is Paulinho for sale. "It's not so easy to let a player like him leave in Chinese football because signing a replacement of his calibre would mean we would need to make a huge investment bringing someone else in - and that's not so easy to do considering the caps that have been imposed in our market", Scolari said.