Reports: Barcelona back in race to sign Paulinho
What's the story?
Guangzhou Evergrande's Paulinho has once again been linked with a Barcelona move as Ernesto Valverde reportedly values him more than Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, according to The Daily Express.
The Blaugrana who have had a dormant summer, have now awakened with a vigour and are ready to shell out the proceeds of the Neymar's sale to PSG in order to address a myriad of problems that are plaguing their squad.
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PSG have announced the arrival of Neymar and it is a loss that will take some time for the Blaugrana to get used to.
The Catalans, however, have a busy month ahead of them as they need to leave no stone unturned in trying to replace the nearly irreplaceable Brazilian.
With Iniesta's and Sergio Busquets's best days behind them and the new signings not being up to par, Barcelona have a lot of business to take care of and if the reports are to be believed Paulinho still remains one of their primary targets.
The heart of the matter
Barcelona's Paulinho admiration dates as far back as 2013 when they expressed their interest in signing them but the Brazilian decided to pack his bags and move to White Hart Lane with Tottenham.
But after a disappointing stint with the Spurs, Paulinho decided to fly to the far east and ply his trade in the Chinese Super League. He has since gone on to become an indispensable part of Guangzhou Evergrande.
The Chinese club, who has won the league twice after Paulinho's arrival, want him to not leave mid-season and hope that he will respect their decision to not sell him.
The 29-year-old is a creative force in attack and a destructive shield in defence and his revival of form has made him a regular starter for Brazil.
Barcelona who are ready to break the bank for Coutinho will find Paulinho much cheaper. He will cost them somewhere in the ballpark of £30m.
A switch back to the Europe's elite flight will, however, be a gruelling task for the 29-year-old.
Barcelona should ideally try to sign Coutinho who is younger and yet to reach his peak. Paulinho at 29-years-old will be just another addition to their list of problems within 2 years. On top of that, the fact that he also plays in a less competitive Chinese league should have a deterring effect on the deal.
But that doesn't necessarily mean that Paulinho will flop at Barca as he has been able to put up some really good displays for Brazil in the recent past. However, Barcelona need to be cautious and consider all their options before going through with the deal.