Guangzhou Evergrande have rejected a second bid from Barcelona for Brazilian international Paulinho in this summer.
The improved offer from the Spanish La Liga side – reported to be €5m higher than an initial €20m bid – was turned down by the Chinese Super League club, according to Sport.
Guangzhou Evergrande have once again reiterated that the 29-year-old midfielder is not for sale, especially in the middle campaign of CSL this season.
“We need to not only consider the financial account of the corporation, but also the specific situation of our current campaign,” said Xu Jiayin, the chairman of Evergrande Group.
“Paulinho has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (to join Barcelona) and we attach great importance to this matter. But we won’t let him leave mid-season.
“The club have just reached half-way point of the season, it is out of the question that we let go such a key player,” he added.
“I understand the feelings of Paulinho but hopefully he will understand the club. Despite receiving the offer from Barcelona, he still play each game to the best of his ability. I call on every player to learn from his professionalism.”
Paulinho joined Guangzhou Evergrande from Tottenham in 2015 for €14 million. He helped the team to back-to-back league titles in 2015 and 2016, as well as the 2015 AFC Champions League title.