Paulinho and Sandro: Brazilian Midfield Pair Can Take Spurs to the Next Level
With Paulinho and Corinthians having held a press conference on Monday to confirm the player's departure in a €20 million deal, it is now only a matter of time before he is officially unveiled as a Tottenham Hotspur player, as reported by the BBC.
His impending arrival in North London, then, raises interesting questions as to the direction in which manager Andre Villas-Boas is seeking to take his Spurs side.
In Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Sandro, he now has three outstanding central midfield options, prompting much speculation that he intends to revert to the 4-3-3 setup that served him so well at Porto.
In the powerful trio named, he has the ideal players to do so. Sandro could sit at the base of the midfield, Dembele would be charged with distributing the ball, while Paulinho will play his normal box-to-box role. There is potential for the combination to work brilliantly.
There is, perhaps, an issue with a lack of creativity—which may explain the links to Brazilian attacking midfielder Bernard. Lewis Holtby, perhaps, could be used in one of the wide positions to attempt to add some inspiration to a very powerful side.
Add in Bale on the other flank and a new striker up front, and there is a real possibility that Tottenham could cause a major surprise next season. While their rivals are also strengthening, it seems that there is detailed planning as to the structure that Villas-Boas hopes to put in place.
The combination of Paulinho and Sandro in midfield will be hugely important to the side. Sandro's injury in the second half of last season was a major blow to Spurs' Champions League hopes, with Scott Parker simply not able to act as a like-for-like replacement.
Sandro's physicality combined with composure on the ball is unique. He is good in the air, an area in which Parker struggles, and also is a better distributor of the ball than the Englishman.
Add in Paulinho, alongside the similarly powerful Dembele, and the physical strength of the Spurs midfield will overwhelm some opponents. A goalscoring midfielder, he is also a threat in the air from set-pieces and incredibly strong when running with the ball.
For Brazil, it is an intriguing move also, and there is no doubt that Luiz Felipe Scolari will be keeping an eye on how Sandro and Paulinho function as a pairing.
While Luiz Gustavo is in pole position for a slot in midfield at present, the possibility of playing a pairing with an understanding of each other's roles built at club level will be attractive to the selecao boss.
As an aside, what Paulinho's capture will also offer Villas-Boas is a better replacement for Sandro when the Brazilian is absent. While not a holding midfielder by trade, it is a position he has played in the past and can fill adequately on a short-term basis.
Should Parker and fellow English midfielder Tom Huddlestone be sold this summer, it will be interesting to see whether Spurs feel the need to add a further midfielder to the squad.
Holtby will undoubtedly be used a lot this campaign, while young Englishman Tom Carroll should be afforded increased playing time as he continues his development.
It is Sandro and Paulinho who will be the envy of clubs Europe-wide, however. Add in Dembele to the equation, and it is clear that Spurs will have a midfield that few other sides can claim to match.
With the correct additions in attacking areas—a striker and a creative attacking midfielder—Spurs would be capable of really challenging for major honours if they believe in their own capabilities.
Any success they do have, though, will undoubtedly be based upon the "Boys from Brazil" at the base of midfield.
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