Evergrande's Paulinho to join Barcelona, says Chinese media

HONG KONG: Brazil international and former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho will travel to Spain to complete a move to Barcelona on Sunday after the Catalan club activated the Guangzhou Evergrande player's buy-out clause, Chinese media reported.

Barca, who need reinforcements after the world record transfer of Brazil forward Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain last week, will pay the 40 million euros ($47.26 million) for the 29-year-old to end his two-year spell in the Chinese Super League.

Barcelona were not immediately available to comment.

Paulinho had recently been linked with a move to the Spanish side but Guangzhou chairman Xu Jiayin had denied that the former Corinthians midfielder would be sold before the end of the season after rejecting two previous bids.

Xu said the cost of replacing Paulinho, who signed a new deal this year, would make it impossible for Guangzhou to part with a player instrumental in their charge to the top of the table and run to the Asian Champions League quarter-finals.

Paulinho joined Guangzhou after a disappointing spell in the English Premier League with Spurs and has established himself as a key player for his Chinese club and his country.

In March got a hat-trick as Brazil handed Uruguay a 4-1 defeat in a World Cup qualifier, while he has scored seven goals in the Chinese league and five in the Asian Champions League.