Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has denied the rumors of midfielder Brazilian Paulinho moving to Spanish giants Barcelona.
The 28-year-old, who already signed a new contract in January until 2020 with Guangzhou, admitted last week that the Catalan club had offered to sign him.
However, Scolari insisted the club were reluctant to sell Paulinho as the new Chinese tax rule makes signing an overseas replacement more expensive, and flagged up his 40 million euro release clause.
“His release clause is 40 million euros ($44.80 million), and none of the Chinese clubs will let their key players go because it would be difficult and expensive to find a replacement due to the new rules,” the Brazilian coach told reporters, as quoted by Reuters.
Paulinho has won two Chinese Super League titles and an AFC Champions League trophy with Chinese powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande since joining the club from Tottenham Hotspur in 2015.