ibusinesslines.com November 21, 2018

Paulinho set to leave Barcelona, return to China

10 July 2018, 11:52 | Charlene Valdez

Paulinho enjoyed a good debut season at Barcelona last campaign

Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Paulinho celebrates with Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez after scoring during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against RC Deportivo de la Coruna at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December

Chinese Super League giants Guangzhou Evergrande have completed the capture of Paulinho, who will rejoin his former club next season.

FC Barcelona shock decision to allow Brazil midfielder Paulinho return to China has reportedly been cited as the club's attempt to lure another foreign star to the club.

Paulinho played 34 games and scored nine goals as Barcelona won La Liga last term, and started all five of Brazil's World Cup games in Russian Federation.

With the Catalans struggling to accommodate a host of non-European Union players, however, Paulinho has been released back to Guangzhou.

When he signed for the club last summer for a fee of €40 million, fans and critics alike lashed out at the club for signing a Premier League reject who plied his trade in the Chinese Super League, and did not fit the club's philosophy and style of play.

But Mina did very well for Colombia at the World Cup, and this means that the club has made a decision to retain the 22-year old centre-back, and replaced non-EU player Paulinho with his compatriot Arthur.

The former Tottenham man will move to Guangzhou on a loan transfer for one season, which includes a subsequent purchase option for the defending Super League champions.

Although the total amount of 88m euros reflects a negative moment in Guangzhou Evergrande's budget, the team have also suffered on field during the Brazilian's absence. The 29-year-old played a huge role in their title-winning campaign but most importantly, he provided a physical presence in midfield, which Barcelona were lacking for quite a long time.

With the arrival of Arthur Melo from Grêmio, Paulinho's position in the pecking order was always in question. It is understood that Barcelona have a deal in place for the Gremio midfielder, who is a promising talent and can strengthen their creative unit. But, with Paulinho's departure to China and Yerry Mina's potential exit, it could open the door for future signings.

As for Paulinho himself, it seems to be a logical move considering the fact that he will turn 30 later this month.

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