Paulinho must wait for Barcelona move, says Guangzhou Evergrande chairman
Spanish side have reportedly offered €20 million (HK$178 million) for the 28-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder
Barcelona target Paulinho has been told by Guangzhou Evergrande that he will not be allowed to leave until the end of the Chinese Super League season.
Paulinho helped Guangzhou to their second AFC Champions League crown in 2015 and has won two Super League titles, as well as reclaiming his place in the Brazil national team since moving to Guangzhou from the English Premier League.
Barcelona have reportedly offered €20 million (HK$178 million) for the 28-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder.
“Regarding Paulinho, there is nothing to discuss until the end of the season,” said Guangzhou chairman Xi Jiayin.
“We completely understand his feelings, however, we hope he can understand the club’s situation. We can’t just let a core player go in the middle of a tough season.
“It is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Paulinho and there has been lots of attention on it. However, in midseason it is impossible.”
The Super League wraps up on November 4, but Guangzhou’s season could run until November 25 if they reach the AFC Champions League final.
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“Although Barcelona have offered a fee, Paulinho has been training professionally and playing very well,” added Xi.
Paulinho has been the club’s standout performer so far this season, scoring 11 times in 24 games in all competitions as Guangzhou again qualified for the quarter-finals of the continental championship and sit top of the Super League standings.
He was quoted in the Spanish media this week saying he would ask Guangzhou to allow him to join Barcelona, but with regulations on signing foreign players tightened recently, and the Super League’s transfer window due to close on Friday, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s are unlikely to grant his request.