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Barcelona send Paulinho back on loan to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande

Brazilian midfielder Paulinho has officially joined Guangzhou Evergrande on a season-long loan from Barcelona. Paulinho, who arrived at Camp Nou last summer for a fee in the region of €40 million, helped the side to a domestic double, hitting the back of the net nine times in 21 starts.

A statement on the Barcelona website confirmed the move: “FC Barcelona and Guangzhou Evergrande have reached an agreement for the loan transfer of Paulinho Bezerra for one season, with a mandatory purchase option for the Chinese club.'

Paulinho had a rather unsuccessful stint in the Premier League with Tottenham and when he moved to China to join Guangzhou Evergrande in 2015, it looked like he would see out his career in the wilderness of the Chinese Super League. However, stellar performances for the side – he struck 24 goals in 88 games – helped them to two titles and earned Paulinho a shock move to Barcelona where he impressed under manager Ernesto Valverde.

His displays also earned him a call-up to Brazil's World Cup squad and he featured for his nation in all five games in Russia as they ultimately fell at the hands of Belgium in the quarterfinals.

Considering his performances at the club, it is rather surprising that the Catalan giants decided to offload the Brazilian. However, their hand was forced by La Liga's rules regarding Non-EU players. Barcelona already have Philippe Coutinho and Yerry Mina in their ranks and the imminent arrival of Arthur Melo means Paulinho's presence would have forced them over the limit. With Coutinho and Mina expected to play major roles for the side next season, Paulinho had to ultimately be shown the door.

Guangzhou, meanwhile, will be hoping his arrival will give them a boost as they attempt to close in on league-leaders Shanghai East Asia. Guangzhou currently sit in fifth and trail Shanghai by five points.

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