Tottenham Transfer News: Spurs Set to Sign Paulinho, Face Competition for Villa

Frank Wagner@Fw1812Correspondent IJune 22, 2013

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 19:   Francisco Javier Rodriguez of Mexico challenges Paulinho of Brazil during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 19, 2013 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Tottenham's transfer activity took a big turn Saturday, as the London club is apparently closing in on signing Paulinho and facing new competition for David Villa.

According to Lee Bryan of the Daily Mail, Spurs have had a £17 million bid for the 24-year-old Paulinho accepted by Brazilian club Corinthians.

The news comes just a few days after Tottenham had a £15 million bid for the Brazilian midfielder turned down.

If Spurs can close the deal, it would be a notable coup, as Paulinho was a target of large clubs like Inter Milan (via ESPN) and Real Madrid (via David Kent of the Daily Mail).

With Tottenham's appointment of Franco Baldini as technical director, the signing of a Brazilian with lots of potential should not be much of a surprise. After all, the former Roma director built his reputation by signing many Brazilians.

At £17 million, Paulinho's transfer fee would be a Spurs record, barely passing the £16.75 million deal for Luka Modric in 2008.

Meanwhile, Tottenham's pursuit of David Villa has hit a major hurdle.

According to the Mirror, Serie A club Fiorentina has decided to pursue Villa in the transfer market this summer.

The Italian club is apparently ready to offer Barcelona £8.5 million for the Spanish striker in order to replace their highly sought-after striker Stevan Jovetic.

To make matters worse for Spurs, the striker's agent, Victor Onate, sounded quite interested in the possibility of a move to Italy: "David Villa [to] Fiorentina? A fascinating project. Talk about a formal interest from Fiorentina is excessive but we know the type of project they have in mind."

While Spurs are in desperate need of a striker, they have already been linked to many strikers this summer, including Leandro Damiao (via Express), Roberto Soldado (via Simon Jones of the Daily Mail) and Christian Benteke (via Matt Law of Mirror).

Hence, even if the pursuit of David Villa falls through, Tottenham will have many options still available.

Given the debacle that unfolded at White Hart Lane in January, though, it is a little disconcerting for any possible striking choices to fall through.

Paulinho may be a great pickup, but the focus still must be on signing a striker.