Guangzhou Evergrande have told Paulinho that they will not allow him to leave the club to join Barcelona in the current transfer window.
But Guangzhou, who signed Paulinho from Spurs back in 2015, are adamant they will not allow the midfielder to leave at what is the halfway stage of the Chinese Super League season.
"We need to not only consider the financial account of the corporation, but also the specific situation of our current campaign," said Xu Jiayin, chairman of Evergrande Group in his annual mid-season meeting with the players.
"Paulinho has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [to join Barcelona] and we attach great importance to this matter. But we won’t let him leave mid-season.
"The club have just reached the half-way point of the season, it is out of the question that we let go such a key player.
"I understand the feelings of Paulinho but hopefully he will understand the club. Despite receiving the offer from Barcelona, he still play each game to the best of his ability.
"I call on every player to learn from Paulinho’s professionalism."
Paulinho revealed on Sunday that he hoped Guangzhou would not stand in his way over his desire to join Ernesto Valverde's side.
But with Guangzhou, who are currently top of the CSL with 37 points from their opening 16 matches, reluctant to sell, he looks set to miss out on a switch to Camp Nou.