Brazil Star Paulinho Close to Barcelona Exit as Shock Return to China Beckons

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Brazil midfielder Paulinho could be on the verge of leaving Barcelona after just one season at the Nou Camp.

According to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, the 29-year-old’s former club, Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande, have made Barca an offer of €50m – and the player is reportedly keen to return to China.

Although the Brazilian is reportedly very happy at Barcelona, he was disappointed not to be included in some of the Catalan giants’ most important matches last season – most notably the 3-0 defeat by Roma in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, which he watched from the substitutes’ bench.

In addition, if Paulinho stayed at the Nou Camp, he could struggle to hold down a starting berth next season, as Barcelona are keen to recruit new midfielders after losing club legend Andrés Iniesta.

As well as targeting Ajax star Frenkie de Jong, La Blaugrana are also reportedly very close to signing Paulinho’s compatriot Arthur from Gremio. Meanwhile, 20-year-old Barcelona B central midfielder Carles Aleñá is set to be promoted to the first team.

Paulinho enjoyed a successful season in La Liga, scoring nine goals in 34 league appearances and helping Barca cruise to the league title. However, if he is determined to return to China, Barcelona may be pleased to have made a profit on a player who only cost them €40 million.

If Paulinho returns to the Chinese Super League – where he spent two years before moving to Spain – it will no doubt displease Brazil fans, as the standard of football in China is clearly some way below the level of La Liga.

Since he is only 29 years old, the midfielder may remain part of the Brazil squad for many years to come. He has already accrued 54 caps for his country, scoring 13 international goals.

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