Bayer Leverkusen seal deal for Brazilian teenager Paulinho
Bayer Leverkusen completed the signing of Brazilian forward Paulinho from Vasco da Gama for next season in what the Bundesliga club called "a real coup."
The 17-year-old Paulinho signed a contract through June 2023, effective from his next birthday on July 15.
A transfer fee was not disclosed, but kicker magazine in Germany reported Leverkusen took advantage of financial problems at Vasco da Gama by having its offer of just under €20 million accepted -- €10m less than his release clause.
However, ESPN Brazil reported earlier this week that Vasco da Gama, which owns 70 percent of the player's rights, would get €25m up front and another €10m in incentives. The player's family owns 15 percent of his rights, with agent Carlos Leite owning the other 15 percent.
"I'm happy that we can continue our special Brazilian tradition for which Bayer 04 stands in South America," Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller said.
Paulinho, described by the club as one of Brazil's "biggest talents," made his league debut for Vasco da Gama as a 16-year-old and can play across the pitch in several positions in attack.
"Emerson, Lucio, Jorginho, Ze Roberto or Juan were fantastic players who began their world careers at Leverkusen," Paulinho said of his forerunners. "The club has a great name at home. Everyone knows it as the club in Europe where many Brazilians are happy."
Paulinho broke his arm in a game against Cruzeiro Belo Horizonte on April 4, an injury that also put off other potential European suitors, a list that had once reportedly reached 12 clubs.