Barcelona’s pursuit of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho will continue despite them spending £36.5million on former Spurs reject Paulinho.
The Catalan club also remain keen on including Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes as part of the deal and he was left out of the squad for Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup first leg against Real Madrid.
Paulinho’s imminent arrival comes just two years after he was deemed surplus to requirements by Mauricio Pochettino and sold to Guangzhou Evergrande for £10m.
Paulinho, who flopped at Spurs, is set to join Barca from Guangzhou Evergrande for £36.5m
The 29-year-old will add power to Barcelona’s midfield and increase the chances of Gomes, who is wanted by Liverpool, leaving.
Coutinho did his best to help move his departure forward on Friday when he handed in a transfer request.
Paulinho took a pay-cut to make his Barcelona dream a reality. The player was on around €7m net a year in China but will accept €2m-a-year less when he signs for four years in Spain.
Barcelona will not give up on Coutinho but, with Dortmund demanding €130m for Ousmane Dembele and Liverpool refusing to negotiate even at £100m, they are beginning to express doubts that they can land both targets.
The Catalan giants sold Neymar to Paris Saint Germain for £198m and already had a £75m transfer kitty at the start of the summer.
But the club want some of the Neymar money to go towards their €350m renovation of the Camp Nou, while coach Ernesto Valverde is also keen on bringing in a new centre back.
The capture of Paulinho has not been well-received by Barcelona supporters.
The arrival of Paulinho increases the chances Barca will sell Andre Gomes and Sergio Roberto
Barcelona identified Paulinho as a target at the start of the summer once their capture of PSG’s Marco Veratti ran into problems.
At the time the club’s interest seemed to be grounded in a desire to buy Brazilian team-mates for Neymar. They were also linked with Neymar’s pal Lucas Lima, the 26-year-old Santos player whose contract runs out at the end of the year.
But – boosted by the collapse of the Veratti signing – Paulinho’s transfer has survived Neymar’s departure.
Guangzhou Evergrande, who are leading the Chinese Super League with nine weeks left of the season, have demanded Barcelona pay Paulinho’s full €40m buy-out clause.
Barcelona, who meet Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday, have yet to confirm the transfer and, when asked about Paulinho, coach Ernesto Valverde said: ‘I know nothing about it apart from that he will not be playing for us on Sunday.’