Barcelona surely would want some of the biggest names in the footballing world to join them this summer following their disastrous European campaign last term, but in truth, the La Liga giants would find it extremely difficult to get even the decent options. The latest such example is of Brazilian central midfielder Paulinho.
The 28-year-old has been a top alternative for Barcelona should they fail to get their cherished option of Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain this summer. However, no matter how tempting the lure of Barcelona is, snatching the players from their respective clubs is equally difficult.
Paulinho currently plays for Chinese League side Guangzhou Evergrande and is one of the mega stars. The player is undoubtedly one of the successful examples of the cash-rich league where the 28-year-old won two Chinese League titles and one Asian Champions League. One of the main players of former Portugal and Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, the manager has been adamant in holding on to him.
Speaking to media lately, the manager has made it pretty clear that Barcelona won’t be having him this summer in any way. He told Mundo Deportivo, “Paulinho will not leave Guangzhou… He has a release clause of €40 million.”
The chances get further dwindled because of China’s latest tax-related regulations on foreign player signings and Scolari pointed that out, “And at the moment it’s not easy for Chinese teams to lose a big player because it’s difficult and expensive to sign a replacement with the new taxes that we have to pay.”
Although Barcelona turned around the table in their domestic table and came extremely close to clinching the La Liga title in the closing weeks of the season, their European campaign was beyond repair. In their 10 Champions League matches last season, including the group stages and knockout games, Luis Enrique saw his men conceding a whopping 12 goals.
Recurring injuries to their available four centre-halves, Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu had further complicated the scenario. New manager Ernesto Valverde needs some serious reinforcements as his back line with a right-back and a centre-half being top priorities.
Paulinho first came to the fore when Tottenham Hotspur bought him from Brazilian side Corinthians back in 2013 for £17 million, as the North London side struggled to utilise the huge sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. The Brazilian wasn’t a huge success there with only six goals and three assists in 45 games.
Spurs managed to sell him for a little profit in 2015 to China for €14 million. However, he has drastically improved there, scoring 13 goals and notching up six assists in 55 games. And Barcelona would hope he continues his influence at Camp Nou too.