Barcelona have officially confirmed that Guangzhou Evergrande have taken up the option to buy Barcelona midfielder Paulinho for 50 million euros.
He becomes the third Brazilian after Alan and Talisca in the main stream Guangzhou Evergrande. In fact, they are the only foreigner in the squad.
Paulinho officially played on loan for the Chinese Super League side until now but there was an agreement between the clubs that Guangzhou will make the transfer permanent.
Paulinho summer’s return to China has been a rather shocking move for everyone, including the coach, Ernesto Valverde, who has reportedly learned about this incident via radio.
The arrangement of the Brazilian midfielder’s departure is allegedly one of the reasons behind Valverde’ hesitation over his contract extension with the club.
“Valverde’s lost a key element: Paulinho, who added balance to the team,” said former Barcelona B coach Gerard Lopez last autumn.
“The absence of the Brazilian is important because his physical work and his willingness to work in defence provided a platform for those further forward, who don’t have the demands of defending and focus on attacking.”
All in all, Paulinho scored nine goals in 49 matches for Barcelona in the season 2017/18. He helped the team to win La Liga and Copa del Rey last season finishing the campaign among the most-used players.