Barcelona have agreed a deal with Guangzhou Evergrande to sign Brazilian midfielder Paulinho for 40 million euros (36.35 million pounds), the Spanish club said on Monday.
“The new Barcelona player will sign for the next four seasons (and) the player’s buyout clause is set at 120 million euros,” Barcelona said in a statement.
“Paulinho will undergo a club medical on Thursday (when) the signing of the contract and his official presentation will also take place.”
The 29-year-old is Barcelona’s first signing since the Spanish giants sold Neymar to Paris St Germain earlier this month for a world record 222 million euros, with the Catalans still looking to make further reinforcements.
Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele have both been targeted by Barcelona as they search for a player capable of replacing Neymar’s spark on the left of the attack.
Coutinho has handed in a transfer request at Anfield.
Barcelona have had two bids rejected for Coutinho and are poised to return with a third offer, according to reports in Spain.
The arrival of Coutinho’s Brazil team mate Paulinho will allow Barcelona to add more muscle and energy to a midfield which struggled to keep control of games last season.
“Paulinho is a player who stands out for being a powerful midfielder at 1.82m tall who can get into the box and play anywhere in the middle of the park. He has plenty of experience in the game on various continents,” Barcelona added.
Paulinho failed to make an impact in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur after joining from Corinthians and departed to Guangzhou Evergrande in 2015 for 14 million euros.
While in the Chinese top flight Paulinho found his best form, scoring 25 goals in 95 games for Guangzhou, and earned a recall to the Brazilian national side.