Barcelona Reportedly Considering €50M Offer for Paulinho's Chinese Return

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 09: Jose Paulo Bezerra Maciel Junior, Paulinho, of FC Barcelona in action during the La Liga 2017-18 match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF at Camp Nou on May 09 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)
Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Paulinho could reportedly be used as a €50 million (£44.2 million) revenue booster this summer following reports the club are considering an offer to send him back to the Chinese Super League.

It was only last summer Barca paid Guangzhou Evergrande €40 million to recruit the Brazilian, but it's said they could cash in for a quick profit, with the player also reportedly willing to return to China, per Sport. It's understood Paulinho would move initially on loan with a purchase obligation in January.

Sport cited a report from Spanish website Todomercado, which alleged Barcelona had announced Paulinho's move to Guangzhou on Chinese social medium Weibo before quickly taking it down. The Chinese transfer window shuts on July 11, and talks are described as "very, very advanced."

The cash injection is thought to be tempting for the Blaugrana, who have more than one Chinese Super League outfit interested in their playmaker, who spent more than two years in the Far East division.

Paulinho revived his career with Guangzhou after seeing his reputation tarnished by a difficult couple of years at Tottenham Hotspur.

The central midfielder, who turns 30 at the end of July, started off his Barcelona tenure as a bench option but swiftly became a favourite at the Camp Nou and forced his way into manager Ernesto Valverde's starting XI.

That form has translated to the international stage, and Paulinho has become something of a constant in Tite's Brazilian engine room, with Goal underlining his importance to the Selecao:

Goal @goal

Under Tite, only Neymar and Gabriel Jesus (10) have scored more goals for Brazil than Paulinho (8) 😎 #BRA https://t.co/azSP4fpcPH

But as he approaches his 30th birthday, it appears there's a willingness among Barca's ranks to sell while interest is high and devote the funds elsewhere in the team.

The decision would be a bold one on Barcelona's part considering the club is already waving goodbye to legend Andres Iniesta this summer, and Paulinho's departure would only limit their playmaking options further.

Rafinha Alcantara has returned from his season-long loan at Inter Milan to boost the central reserves somewhat, although Paulinho's Brazilian compatriot doesn't hold the same status at the Camp Nou.

In a few short years, Paulinho has re-established himself as the sort of passing kingpin that made him such a hit with Corinthians, and he spoke with the Players' Tribune about his challenges before moving to China (h/t ESPN FC):


Fascinating insight from Paulinho on why he left Tottenham for China in 2015. [via @PlayersTribune] https://t.co/ObXLfSDZnY

Valverde is said to have green-lit Paulinho's departure if the club can get the mentioned fee from a Chinese suitor, and he'll then look to bring in a high-quality midfielder as his replacement.

The move will be delayed by Paulinho's involvement at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, however, with his Brazil side set to face Belgium in the quarter-finals on Friday.