Paulinho keen for China stay amid transfer rumours

Football Soccer - Uruguay v Brazil - World Cup 2018 Qualifiers - Centenario stadium, Montevideo, Uruguay - 23/3/17 - Brazil's Paulinho celebrates his third goal. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho has denied speculation linking him to a move away from the Chinese Super League after his recent impressive performances for Brazil and Guangzhou Evergrande.

The 28-year-old, who joined Evergrande from the English Premier League side in June 2015, signed an extension to his initial contract in January.

But after scoring a hat-trick in Brazil's 4-1 win over Uruguay in World Cup qualifying last month, he has found himself back in the spotlight.

"These transfer rumours are normal in the football industry," he told Chinese media. "My agent must have received inquiries from some European clubs.

"But I like where I am and I have been having good time with my team mates and coaches. I'd like to stay here to win more titles with Evergrande."

Paulinho joined the club on a 14 million euro ($14.9 million) transfer fee after a disappointing spell in London and has impressed since moving to China.

He helped Evergrande win the Asian Champions League title at the end of his first season while also picking up two Chinese Super League winners medals and Guangzhou also moved to end the speculation over his future.

"Hereby we officially announce that Guangzhou Evergrande has never received an offer for Paulinho," the club said in a statement.

"Paulinho has signed a contract extension with Guangzhou Evergrande in January 2017 and he is a key player in the club's long-term plan."

($1 = 0.9396 euros)

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)