Tite & Paulinho hug sparks transfer speculation

The Corinthians coach and midfielder shared what many are speculating as a goodbye hug following the club’s Paulista victory over Santos
Corinthians midfielder Paulinho has set off speculation that he is on his way out this summer after exchanging a farewell hug with head coach Tite after the club secured their Paulista title with a 3-2 aggregate win over Santos.

The current Club World Cup holders lifted the Sao Paulo state championship trophy for the 27th time on Sunday after holding Neymar and Co. to a 1-1 draw in the second leg and afterwards the coach and the European club transfer target embraced.

"I do not want to answer questions about it [the exchanged]," Tite told reporters after the match.

Midfielder Ralf was also asked about the hug but refused to speculate beyond the possibilities of it being down to a move or his performances for Corinthians.

"I do not know what they said," he said. "I did not ask Paulinho about it, but it was something that moved him, I do not know if it’s because of his departure, or a worthiness for everything he has done.”

Paulinho nearly departed for Inter in January, but decided to remain with Corinthians for one last go at the Copa Libertadores, though the club exited the competition at the hands of Boca Juniors earlier in May.

The midfielder has been with Corinthians since 2010, scoring 28 goals in 134 appearances, and club owner Mario Gobbi is hoping to keep the 24-year-old for another season.

"It’s too early to say anything. We do not want him to leave. He will only leave if he wants," he revealed.

"So far there is no proposal for Paulinho. This is the third year we have been talking about this. In other years there had been."