Barcelona have announced the signing of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande for €40m (£36m), with the Brazil midfielder set to be unveiled this week.
A statement from Barça on Monday confirmed that deal with the Chinese Super League side has been agreed for the former Tottenham player, with Ernesto Valverde’s side paying his release clause in full. The 29-year-old, who left White Hart Lane in 2015 for just €14m having played 45 Premier League games for Spurs, will be presented at the Camp Nou on Thursday.
His move, which is a record fee received by a Chinese club, had earlier been confirmed by Evergrande’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
“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.”
Former Brazil forward Rivaldo, who played more than 150 games for Barcelona between 1997 and 2002, also expressed his pleasure that his compatriot will follow in his footsteps.
“Welcome to Barcelona and I wish you lots of luck in this new chapter. Without doubt, this has been the best choice,” he wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has warned Barcelona that time is running out in their bid to sign Ousmane Dembélé. Dortmund rejected a bid of €100m last week for the France forward, who was then suspended by the club after failing to turn up for training on Thursday.
After Saturday’s German Cup victory against FC Rielasingen-Arlen , sporting director Michael Zorc confirmed that suspension would remain in place until further notice, with Watzke telling German magazine Kicker on Monday that the 20-year-old could also miss the opening Bundesliga matches against Wolfsburg on Saturday and Hertha Berlin on 26 August – five days before the transfer window shuts. “The time horizon is enough for two games,” he said.
It is understood that Dembélé has not spoken to any Dortmund officials since attending the club’s pre-season photoshoot on Wednesday – a stance that has infuriated Watzke. He has been offered a lucrative new contract extension in a bid to keep him at the club he joined last summer from Rennes but remains determined to move to La Liga, with Barcelona weighing up whether to return with an improved bid.
With Rennes due up to 25% from any fee after inserting a sell-on clause, Dortmund have demanded up to €150m for a player they signed for a 10th of that price just 12 months ago. They are believed to be willing to resist any offers which do not meet their asking price, with Dembélé facing a potential further suspension if he fails to show up for training this week.