Livorno chief Aldo Spinelli has claimed he turned down a €10m summer offer for Paulinho, while he has likened boss Davide Nicola to Walter Mazzarri.
The Brazilian striker caught the eye in Serie B last season as he scored 23 goals to help the Amaranto into the top flight.
He has three in three Serie A games so far in 2013-14.
“We rejected a €10m bid for him, we didn’t believe it was an offer that had to be accepted,” Spinelli told Radio Anch’Io.
“The player is fundamental for us and that is why he has a five-year contract here.”
The Amaranto started the campaign with a 2-0 home loss against Roma, but they’ve hit back with wins over Sassuolo and now Catania with the help of boss Nicola.
“We’ve followed Nicola closely in these years and he was destined to guide us,” the President continued.
“He has the work ethic of Mazzarri, he has created a squad spirit which is fundamental for us. Let’s hope the results we got last year can be repeated this time around.”
Spinelli knows Mazzarri well as the now Inter boss was in charge of Livorno for the 2003-04 campaign.