A story appeared online this week linking the Brazilian midfielder’s €40million move from Guangzhou Evergrande to Barcelona with the club president’s own family company.
It’s been claimed that the deal is related to the company ADELTE hoping to be involved in a new sea port in Guangzhou, which is being operated by the company that owns Evergrande.
But Barca have moved to deny that – and confirmed on their official website that they’ve asked for the original story be retracted or else they’ll have to take legal action.
The statement, published to fcbarcelona.com this afternoon, said: “This morning FC Barcelona have requested a retraction to the authors of the article as well as to the media outlet that published the story in which the president of the Club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, is accused of having signed the player Paulinho Bezerra as part of a deal which favoured the interests of his company.
“Given the false nature of this news story and the fact that it implies an illegal activity has taken place, if a retraction is not forthcoming both the Club and the president as an individual will take the corresponding legal steps . These steps will include a specific request for damages incurred with regards to the image of the Club.
“FC Barcelona will not tolerate false information to be published which may damage the Club or those who form part of said Club and it calls for professional responsibility from those who have made use of the story without corroborating the information published.”
So that’s a strong statement from Barcelona to deny that Paulinho’s transfer benefits Bartomeu.
It is peculiar that the Spanish giants have been willing to pay €40m for the player when only two years ago he moved to China in a £10m transfer from Tottenham Hotspur.
Is he the sort of signing that will help Barca compete with Real Madrid domestically and in Europe? We’re not so sure.