Guangzhou Evergrande manager Luis Felipe Scolari confirmed on Sunday that Barcelona have paid a fee of 40 million euros for Brazil international Paulinho, who is expected to finalize his move to Camp Nou next week.
The Brazil midfielder was left out of Guangzhou's line-up for their 2-1 win over Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League and is expected to end his two-year stint with the club this week.
"Paulinho is a player with high individual quality, he is an outstanding player, both for his club and for the national team," said Scolari.
"The high price paid by Barcelona in order to sign him is a strong recognition of Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club. We wish him all the best and that he can embrace a bright future.
Paulinho form attracted Barça
Paulinho, who joined Guangzhou from Tottenham Hotspur in 2015, has been in stellar form for both club and country since the turn of the year, scoring a hat-trick in Brazil's 4-1 win over Uruguay in March in World Cup qualifying while also being a key factor in the dominance of Scolari’s side in the Super League.
Former Charlton Athletic midfielder and Guangzhou captain Zheng Zhi also spoke about the transfer after his side’s win on Sunday: “His transfer to Barcelona is an honour not only for Paulinho but for all of the clubs in China. We wish him all the best in Spain.”
Villas-Boas: "The world's leading clubs are paying attention to CSL"
"Losing Paulinho is a loss for Evergrande, but it is a good thing for Chinese football," said former Chelsea and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, whose SIPG side trail Guangzhou by five points. "It proves that the world's leading clubs are paying attention to the Chinese Super League."