Barcelona have reportedly seen a £22m bid for midfielder Paulinho rejected by Guangzhou Evergrande after they stepped up their chase of the Brazilian.
The former Tottenham star has emerged as a surprise transfer target for the Catalan giants this summer, with Ernesto Valverde seemingly keen on making him part of his plans moving forward.
The 28-year-old spent two seasons with Spurs between 2013 and 2015, before making the switch to China where he has impressed at Guangzhou.
According to Sky Sports, the Chinese Super Leagues side have turned down an offer of £22m for the midfielder, while it looks as though they’re in a strong position to either keep hold of him or demand significantly more after he extended his deal in January.
In turn, it may well take more for Barca to prise him away, but the question has to be asked as to whether or not they’d be better off spending a significant part of their budget elsewhere.
Paulinho is a solid, box-to-box midfielder with plenty of power and energy, and so there is undoubtedly sense in why he would be wanted by Barcelona.
However, given that when the speculation first emerged of Barcelona interest, he strongly hinted that he was settled in China too and so the entire deal looks like a difficult one to get over the line as far as Barca are concerned.
It’s a key area of the team that they’re evidently looking to strengthen having been linked with other midfield targets too this summer, but as of yet, the Catalan giants aren’t having too much luck with Valverde hoping he has a successful first season at Barcelona regardless.