Reports have surfaced that Chelsea are planning to bid for Tottenham midfielder Paulinho. This may come as a shock to many, as the Brazilian has not exactly had the most impressive of debut seasons at White Hart Lane. However, he may just be the perfect fit at Stamford Bridge.
According to a Mail Online report by John Edwards, the Blues have employed the services of the agent Giuliano Bertolucci to handle the transfer. This is the same man who orchestrated the transfers of other Brazilians David Luiz, Oscar and Ramires to Chelsea, so he certainly knows how to get a deal done.
Spurs paid £17 million for Paulinho last summer from Corinthians, and they will certainly want to receive at least that if he were to leave the club during the next transfer window. But the question is: Why are Chelsea interested in the 25-year-old, who has not pulled up many trees since landing in London?
Looking at the stats, via WhoScored.com, you start to see the appeal of Paulinho. He plays in the holding midfield role, screening the back four, where tackling ability is of paramount importance. The Brazilian averages 2.2 tackles per game, which leaves him behind only Ramires and Cesar Azpilicueta of the whole Chelsea squad.
Passing is, of course, also critical in that midfield role and again Paulinho’s stats stack up favourably compared to Chelsea’s stars. The Spurs man completes his passes 85.2 percent of the time, which puts him ahead of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Frank Lampard, Nemanja Matic, Ramires and David Luiz.
Paulinho is also a goal threat having notched five so far in his debut Premier League season. That is more than Willian, who plays in a much more advanced role, and, hilariously, more than Fernando Torres has managed this campaign as well.
Another interesting stat, this time from Squawka, is Paulinho’s impressive take-on (attempts to beat an opponent) success rate of 72 percent. Again this outstrips the likes of Hazard (62 percent), Willian (55 percent) and Ramires (41 percent).
This data suggests that Paulinho would not look out of place at Stamford Bridge in the slightest. What is more, the holding midfield role is also one that could become quite bare at Chelsea in the near future.
Lampard does not have many years left at the top, despite his touching relationship with his manager. Jon Obi Mikel continues to look inadequate at the highest level, and reports suggesting David Luiz will leave in the summer have never stopped rearing their heads.
This leaves something of a hole to fill in central midfield, if not in the first team then certainly as a squad member. Paulinho may not have won hoards of admirers in his debut season in the Premier League, but the stats show he has gone about his business quietly and effectively.
The added exposure of competing in the Champions League may just showcase his skills more clearly. He could prove to be a very shrewd signing by Jose Mourinho.