Chelsea are close to a deal for Spurs' Paulinho with the deal expected to be announced after the World Cup. (Source: Lancenet)— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) April 30, 2014
(Andrade, incidentally, broke the news that Paulinho was joining Spurs last summer, so his story carries some weight.)
The 25-year-old, who arrived from Corinthians for £17 million, featured regularly under former manager Andre Villas-Boas but was dropped in the early weeks of Tim Sherwood’s tenure.
But should Spurs, who thought highly enough of Paulinho to make him their then-record signing in July 2013, be so eager to cut loose a midfielder who claimed the Bronze Ball at last year’s Confederations Cup?
If anything, they should be taking note that in recent weeks, the Brazil international has shown signs he has finally settled in English football.
Against Stoke on Saturday, he played the full 90 minutes against a physical adversary and distributed the ball with proficiency in the opposition half. He also spent an increased amount of time in the attacking third and took a pair of shots that spoke to his growing confidence.
And the week before at home to Fulham, he kept to concentrated areas of the pitch, won five tackles on the defensive side of the ball, passed at a rate of 91 per cent and made a trio of key interceptions to win back possession.
He also opened the scoring in the 35th minute.
Overall, it was likely his best performance in a Spurs shirt, and if it didn’t impress his Tottenham superiors, it surely caught the attention of admirers at Stamford Bridge, the San Siro and the Stadio Olimpico.
But how would Paulinho fit in at each?
His agent, it’s worth pointing out, is Giuliano Bertolucci, and as talkSPORT reiterated in its Wednesday report, Bertolucci also represents Chelsea duo Oscar and David Luiz.
In early March, the Telegraph revealed Barcelona were keen to take David Luiz off Chelsea’s hands—a transaction that would open the door for Paulinho’s introduction as part of a new-look central midfield.
Milan, meanwhile, are desperate for a midfielder who can retain possession and make general contributions with efficiency, and Roma are no doubt concerned about the long-term fitness of Kevin Strootman, who is expected to be out until the autumn with a knee injury.
"Tottenham Hotsboer" Renewed bid from Spurs for Ajax boss Frank de Boer, The Sun reports. pic.twitter.com/7GZXXKUsW9— Arjen van der Horst (@arjenUK) April 29, 2014
Of course, a managerial change at Tottenham would perhaps change the entire Paulinho narrative.
If, for example, Frank de Boer were to replace Sherwood during the summer, as The Guardian has suggested, Paulinho’s value to the club would skyrocket as the Dutchman would no doubt be looking for just the sort of resourcefulness and all-around competence the Brazilian already provides.
Yes, Spurs will likely encounter interest in Paulinho over the next few weeks and months, but they shouldn’t view it as a chance to unload the midfielder.
Instead, they’d be well-advised to keep the faith with a player they rated so highly so recently and who is now making £17 million look like a bargain.