Paulinho needs to “plan for his future” and push for a move to Barcelona, says former Sao Paulo coach Antonio Carlos Silva.
His efforts for club and country have sparked talk of a possible return to Europe, with Barca reported to be leading the chase for his signature.
His CSL employers have moved to rule out a sale at regular intervals but Silva, who helped to put Paulinho on the road to stardom, feels the 29-year-old should take matters into his own hands.
He told reporters after heading a Brazilian coaching delegation to China: “Football players have short careers and Paulinho is almost 30 years old. He should start to plan for his future.
“Barcelona are a world-famous top club, he should go there to earn a reputation and enhance his influence.
“If he cares more about the salary, then perhaps staying in China is an option. But, whether he will stay or leave, Paulinho is still a great player with a fantastic personality.
“Wherever he goes, he will be grateful for everything that has led him to this point.”
Silva discovered Sao Paulo native Paulinho as a youngster, having also helped to unearth top talents such as Kaka, Oscar and Cafu.
The classy midfielder rose to prominence while with Corinthians, earning him a transfer to Spurs in 2013.
While he struggled to produce his best in the Premier League, Paulinho has impressed in China – netting 27 times in 93 appearances – while becoming a key figure for Brazil.
Talk of a switch to Barca came as a surprise to many at first , but the La Liga giants are in need of reinforcements and will soon have money to spend as a proposed €222 million switch for Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain edges ever closer.