Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho says he has received an offer from Barcelona with his agent currently in talks with the La Liga giants.
Paulinho, 28, has enjoyed a revival of sorts since moving to the Chinese Super League after his dismal two seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, helping his side to two league titles and the Asian Champions League while also playing an important role for the Brazil national team.
Following initial reports suggesting Barcelona were ready to offer the midfielder a route back to European football, Guangzhou Evergrande manager Luiz Felipe Scolari insisted Paulinho would remain in China, also pointing out the midfielder has a €40m (£35.3m, $44.7m) release clause in his contract.
"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."
Despite Scolari's comments, a move to the Nou Camp would appear to be an option, with Paulinho confirming talks in an interview with Globo Esporte.
"There has been contact with my agent," he said. "There was an offer and I know that we are talking. I am currently at a very happy stage of my life and my career. It is difficult to decide [what to do] at a moment like this."
He added: "I am very happy that a great club like Barcelona is interested in me, as that is priceless."
Signing Paulinho would represent a slightly left-field move for Barcelona with reports in Spain suggesting Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is the club's priority target in midfield this summer.