Guangzhou Evergrande's midfielder Paulinho drives the ball during the AFC Champions League match against Kashima Antlers in Guangzhou, May 23, 2017. (LU HANXIN / XINHUA)
RIO DE JANEIRO - Barcelona have struck a deal to sign Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande, according to widespread media reports in Brazil.
The Catalan side agreed to meet Paulinho's 40 million-euro (US$47 million) release clause after weeks of negotiations with the Chinese Super League club, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper said on Saturday.
It added that Guangzhou Evergrande's Brazilian coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, confirmed the transfer. Paulinho was not included in Evergrande's squad for their league match against Henan Jianye on Sunday.
News of the deal comes less than two weeks after Paulinho's compatriot Neymar departed the Camp Nou in a world record 222 million-euro transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
Paulinho has been in sublime form this year, scoring 12 goals in 29 matches for his club across all competitions. Guangzhou currently lead the Chinese Super League standings and are in the quarterfinals of the Asian Champions League.
Paulinho has also shone at international level in the past year, and scored a hat-trick in Brazil's 4-1 victory over Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier in March.
Before joining Guangzhou Evergrande in 2015, the former Corinthians star spent two seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, the last of which saw him make only seven starts.