Arsenal have submitted an optimistic £9 million bid for the steering wheel of the Corinthians midfield, José Paulo Bezerra Maciel Jùnior, otherwise known as Paulinho (via The Daily Mail).
The 23-year-old midfielder was instrumental in helping Corinthians win their first Copa Libertadores Trophy in 2012. His play in this tournament came on the heels of an impressive 2011 campaign in the Brasileirao Série A, where he drove Corinthians to their sixth league championship.
His form in the last 18 months, and the impressive string of results for his club, have combined to create a firestorm of interest from Italy to England.
But Goal.com indicates that actually signing the Brazilian might prove to be an uphill battle. After reports of interest from Inter Milan were made public, Corinthians launched an all-out offensive to keep the young midfielder at home.
Team President Mario Gobbi released a statement saying that "Paulinho will stay at Corinthians." And he also mentioned increasing the player's wages in an effort to keep him happy in Brazil.
As for Paulinho's say in all of this, it would seem that he would prefer to stay in Brazil. In response to learning about Inter's interest in him, the midfielder released the following statement (via ESPN):
We are talking about Inter Milan, so obviously it affects me, but Corinthians is my preference...if Corinthians tells me that they want me to stay I'll listen and have talks to stay.
As always, however, it is important to remember that talk is cheap. And that it is one thing for a team to say that a player won't be sold, or a player to say that he doesn't want to leave; and it is another thing to reject an offer of £9 million from one of the largest clubs in the world.
Lost in all of these details is the essential question of whether this move makes sense for Arsenal, and the resounding answer is yes. The 5'11" attacking midfielder would seem to fit perfectly in the maestro role left vacant since Cesc's departure in 2011.
He is known for his clever runs into the attacking third and his ability to finish in the air or on the ground. His intelligence and creativity will undoubtedly fit right in with Arsenal's attacking mentality.
Here is a video of Paulinho scoring a beautiful and important goal in the 2012 Copa Libertadores: