Paulinho needs to “plan for his future” and push for a move to Barcelona, says former Sao Paulo coach Antonio Carlos Silva.

The Brazil international is currently plying his trade for Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League, having completed a lucrative switch from Tottenham in 2015.

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His efforts for club and country have sparked talk of a possible return to Europe, with Barca reported to be leading the chase for his signature.

His CSL employers have moved to rule out a sale at regular intervals but Silva, who helped to put Paulinho on the road to stardom, feels the 29-year-old should take matters into his own hands.

Paulinho waiting for new Barca bid

He told reporters after heading a Brazilian coaching delegation to China: “Football players have short careers and Paulinho is almost 30 years old. He should start to plan for his future.

“Barcelona are a world-famous top club, he should go there to earn a reputation and enhance his influence.

Paulinho Brazil

“If he cares more about the salary, then perhaps staying in China is an option. But, whether he will stay or leave, Paulinho is still a great player with a fantastic personality. 

“Wherever he goes, he will be grateful for everything that has led him to this point.”

Silva discovered Sao Paulo native Paulinho as a youngster, having also helped to unearth top talents such as Kaka, Oscar and Cafu.

Paulinho asks Guangzhou to be ‘flexible’

The classy midfielder rose to prominence while with Corinthians, earning him a transfer to Spurs in 2013.

While he struggled to produce his best in the Premier League, Paulinho has impressed in China – netting 27 times in 93 appearances – while becoming a key figure for Brazil.

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Talk of a switch to Barca came as a surprise to many at first , but the La Liga giants are in need of reinforcements and will soon have money to spend as a proposed €222 million switch for Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain edges ever closer.

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