BREAKING: Barcelona reportedly sign 29-year-old midfielder for €41 million
What's the story?
The Daily Mail are reporting that Barcelona have completed their second signing of the transfer window after earlier obtaining the services of Nelson Semedo from Portuguese champions Benfica - as they claim that the Catalans have signed 29-year-old Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.
Barca had been in negotiations with the Guangzhou management and had reportedly opened their bidding at €20 million but the Chinese club had been adamant in their position of not selling one of their biggest stars. This appears to have changed after Barca's new and improved offer.
In case you didn't know
Paulinho (whose full name is José Paulo Bezerra Maciel Júnior) started off with Pao de Acucar before bouncing about in typical journeyman style with stints at Lithuanian club FC Vilnius, Polish side LSK Lodz, Brazilian clubs Club Atletico Bragantino and mighty Corinthians before finally making it to the big stage with a big money move from Tottenham Hotspur.
He was, of course, famously one of the many so-called "flops" that Spurs threw their money at following Gareth Bale's sale to Real Madrid. In 67 appearances at the White Hart Lane club, he scored 10 goals.
He's returned to fine form since joining the Chinese Super League, though, and has worked his way back into the Brazil national team for whom he now has 41 caps (and 9 goals). If the current World Cup Qualifiers are any indication, he is an integral part of Tite's powerful Brazil side that's set to take the world by storm come 2018.
The heart of the matter
With €222 lying around in their hither-to empty coffers, Barcelona were bound to splurge this summer and paying €41 million for the services of a 29-year-old defensive midfielder who plies his trade in the Chinese Super League shows just how weak the bargaining position of the club is at the moment.
He, will, though add steel to a Barca midfield that was desperately crying out for some - and is a definite upgrade on Andre Gomes!
Here's Paulinho in action for Brazil and Guangzhou:
Say what you want, but the lad can play!
If the reports are true, this may not be the marquee signing that the club's demanding fans have been crying out for - the Brazilian is a sensible addition to the team as it solidifies an extremely soft Barcelona core... Ernesto Valverde is used to playing with teams who are exceptionally hard in the middle of the park, and this may very well be a manager's choice signing.