Chelsea and Manchester City have been dealt a transfer blow in their pursuit of Brazilian midfielder Paulinho.
The Corinthians midfielder – who featured in his side’s 1-0 FIFA Club World Cup victory over the Blues at the weekend – has been heavily linked with a move away from Pacaembu in recent months.
However, the 24-year-old defensive midfielder was happy to pledge his future to the Timao after Sunday’s win over Rafael Benitez’s side, insisting he’s not interested in rumours linking him with a move.
"I'm staying at Corinthians. There were lots of rumours that I could possibly leave the club, that there are talks, but I have never been aware of anything concrete, apart from Inter Milan, which everyone knows about," he told Esporte iG, according to SkySports.
"The more titles you win, the more you want to win. That's what everyone says, and I say that too."
The Daily Mirror reported last week that Chelsea scouts were going to ‘run the rule’ over the player in a match against Al-Ahly, with the eight-cap international lined-up to solve the midfield crisis at Stamford Bridge.
Benitez has been given the green light to sign a player in the position, as well as a striker, according to the report, with Oriol Romeu out for six months, John Obi-Mikel set to play in the African Cup of Nations and Frank Lampard moving towards a Blues exit.
Were Paulinho to move to west London, he’d be part of a large Brazilian contingent that includes Ramires, David Luiz, Oscar and Lucas Piazon at Chelsea.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has also set his sights on the player, according to The Daily Mirror, with the Italian eager to strengthen in the position at the next available opportunity.
The Citizens are also set to lose an influential player in midfield during the African Cup of Nations, with Ivorian Yaya Toure set for action away from the Etihad Stadium.
And, with summer signing Javi Garcia struggling to make an impact for Manchester City, the former FC Vilnius starlet could be the answer.
However, Paulinho’s comments suggest a move is far from around the corner in the January transfer window.