Paulinho will join Barcelona, Guangzhou captain confirms

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The midfielder has been on the radar of the Catalan giants all summer and his team-mate has bemoaned the departure of a key player

Brazil international Paulinho has agreed a deal with Barcelona, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao captain Zheng Zhi has confirmed.

Multiple reports on Saturday claimed the 29-year-old midfielder has travelled to Spain to finalise a transfer after Barca agreed to pay his release clause, thought to be set at €40million.

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Speaking after his side's 2-1 win over Henan Jianye, the Guangzhou skipper revealed that Paulinho is on the verge of a move back to Europe.

"We have lost such a key player [in Paulinho]," he said. "And our line-up and style of play will be absolutely affected by his departure because it is impossible for us to seek any replacement at this stage of the campaign.

"Anyway, we want to wish Paulinho good luck. His transfer to such a big club as Barcelona from the Chinese Super League is testament both to him and the Chinese football leagues."

Paulinho has won six trophies, including two CSL titles and the AFC Champions League, since joining Guangzhou from Tottenham in 2015.

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Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said: "Paulinho is a fantastic player who has a brilliant track record both in club and national team.

"The substantial amount of money that Barcelona had paid to buy Paulinho is a very big testament to the football played by Guangzhou Evergrande.

"We wish him all the best in his future endeavours."

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