Barcelona have agreed a deal with Guangzhou Evergrande to sign midfielder Paulinho for €40million (£36million), the Spanish club announced on Monday.
The 29-year-old Brazilian will sign a four-year contract with a €120 million release clause, undertaking medical tests on Thursday before being presented at Barcelona ‘s home ground, Camp Nou.
Paulinho is Barcelona’s first signing since selling Neymar to Paris St Germain for a world record 222 million euros.
The midfielder failed to make an impact in the Premier League with Tottenham after joining from Corinthians and departed to Guangzhou Evergrande in 2015.
While in the Chinese top flight Paulinho found his best form, scoring 25 goals in 95 games for Guangzhou, earning a recall to the Brazilian national side.
Guangzhou coach Luiz Felipe Scolari confirmed Paulinho’s departure on Sunday and said the move reflects positively on his club.
“The high price paid by Barcelona in order to sign him is a strong recognition of Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club,” he said.
Shanghai SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas says the deal represents an important sign for the development of Chinese football in general.
“Losing Paulinho is a loss for Evergrande, but it is a good thing for Chinese football,” he said. “It proves that the world’s leading clubs are paying attention to the Chinese Super League.”
Paulinho moved to China from Tottenham in 2015 in a deal worth €14m, having originally come to prominence in his homeland with Corinthians.
Barca were interested in the player when he left Brazil for England but never took their interest to the next level.
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