Guangzhou Evergrande manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has claimed that Paulinho is going to stay at the Chinese Super League side beyond the end of the summer transfer window despite recent reports linking him with a move to Barcelona. The Brazilian boss points out that the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has a €40m (£35.3m, $44.7m) release clause in his contract and his club don't plan on negotiating his departure at any price.
Paulinho, 28, made a £17m move from Corinthians to Tottenham in the summer of 2013 after garnering a promising reputation in his homeland.
The midfielder was even linked with Real Madrid before that move but failed to make an impact during his two campaigns at White Hart Lane. However, the Brazilian international has managed to resurrect his career under Scolari since making a £9.9m move to Guangzhou during the summer of 2015.
The Tottenham flop has since helped the Chinese side to win two league titles and the Asian Champions League on one occasion, also recovering an important role in the Brazil national team alongside Neymar and co.
Earlier this week Goal reported that Barcelona had been alerted by Paulinho's impressive form and were in negotiations to lure him to the Nou Camp ahead of the 2017-2018 season. The report added that Barcelona's interest dates back to January, having enquired about his availability during the last transfer window.
However, Scolari has now played down those reports, assuring that nobody from Barcelona has contacted him regarding Paulinho.
The former Chelsea boss says that he has a good relationship with the La Liga giants and "would be aware" if Barcelona really wanted to sign his player.
"Paulinho is not going to move from Guangzhou Evergrande and, for those who do not know it, he has a €40m release clause." Scolari said to Mundo Deportivo when asked about the interest from Barcelona. "At this moment it is not easy for any Chinese team to let an important player go because it is difficult and very expensive to sign a replacement due to new tax rates."
China has imposed a new 100% tax rule regarding the transfer of foreign footballers, doubling the cost of bringing talent from abroad for clubs making a loss.
Mundo Deportivo says that sources from Barcelona have also assured them that Paulinho is not a target for new manager Ernesto Valverde. Furthermore, it is well known that the former Athletic Club Bilbao boss has earmarked the signing of PSG star Marco Verratti as his top priority to strengthen his midfield.