LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen has signed Brazilian forward Paulo Henrique Sampaio Filho, commonly known as Paulinho, from Vasco da Gama for next season in what it says is a "real coup."
The Bundesliga side says the 17-year-old Paulinho has signed a contract through June 2023, effective from his next birthday on July 15.
Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller says, "I'm happy that we can continue our special Brazilian tradition for which Bayer 04 stands in South America."
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 is quoted as saying of his forerunners. "The club has a great name at home. Everyone knows it as the club in Europe where many Brazilians are happy."
The club does not give a transfer fee, but Kicker magazine reports that Leverkusen took advantage of financial problems at Vasco da Gama by having its offer of just under 20 million euros accepted for the player, 10 million less than his release clause.
Paulinho also broke his arm in a game against Cruzeiro Belo Horizonte on Apr. 4, an injury that put off other potential suitors.