In one of the most unexpected stories of the summer, Barcelona are targeting Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho.
The Brazilian international is mostly known for his highly underwhelming stint in the English Premier League with Tottenham in 2013.
Paulinho has since managed to turn his career around in the Chinese Super League, earning a return to the Brazilian national team in 2016.
He is second only to Neymar and Gabriel Jesus in Brazil’s scoring charts for World Cup Qualification, netting four times from seven appearances, and has won the league title with Guangzhou Evergrande in both of his seasons in China.
Such form has catapulted him into discussion over a move to one of the biggest clubs in European football.
Barcelona are apparently unwilling to meet Paulinho’s £35 million release clause, viewing the sum as excessive for a 28-year-old.
World Cup winning manager and current Guangzhou Evergrande boss Luiz Felipe Scolari remains unmoved by the reports of Paulinho’s departure.
“His release clause is €40 million (£35 million) and none of the Chinese clubs will let their key players go because it will be difficult and expensive to find a replacement due to the new rules,” said Scolari.
The Chinese Football Association has implemented new limitations on Chinese Super League clubs purchasing foreign players, essentially doubling the price of any foreign player signing with a 100% tax.