Taking a Closer Look at Paulinho, Internazionale's Latest Target

Lucas Parolin@@Lucas_ParolinCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2013

Taking a Closer Look at Paulinho, Internazionale's Latest Target

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    Inter Milan has had its eyes on Corinthians' Paulinho for quite some time now and actually visited Brazil in January to make yet another attempt to acquire the midfielder. Even though Corinthians and Paulinho rejected the offer yet again, it is highly probable the Italian club will make a final and decisive move for him in the summer

    Paulinho is still a rather unknown player outside of his country. Very litte is known about the Brazilian, besides the fact he played in Corinthians' Club World Cup win in December and has been a part of the Brazilian national squad for the last few months

    Let's take a closer look at Paulinho, who has potential to become one of the premier midfielders in the world.

Modern Midfielder

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    Remember when we first marveled over Steven Gerrard back in the early 2000s? How we loved the way Gerrard could dictate the pace of his team and still shut down players defensively?

    World, meet Gerrard 2.0. 

    Paulinho is the first line of combat in Corinthians' brilliant defense, which took the 2012 Libertadores by storm, setting the record for fewest goals suffered in the tournament's history with four and running away with the title.

    Corinthians also happened to be the team with least goals suffered in the 2011 Brasileirão, also won by Paulinho's team.

    While much of the credit goes to Corinthians' style of play and other defensive weapons (such as the remarkably strong defensive midfielder Ralf), Paulinho is definitely an enormous part of that defensive system. 

    That alone would already make Paulinho a wonderful fit to Internazionale and the Serie A, but he happens to bring a lot more to the table. 

Element of Surprise

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    Watch the featured video. Try finding Paulinho before he heads the ball in. 

    Did you find him? No? Here's a hint: look in the very first seconds in the video. There's Paulinho, trailing behind the midfield line, taking his position as a defensive midfielder. Notice how, as soon as his teammate steals the ball, he starts sprinting towards the goal. 

    Paulinho is a genius at that. He has the stamina and the strength to run between his own and the opponent's 18-yard lines, switching his role as the match progresses. If his opponent has the ball, he immediately positions himself behind the ball to compose the defensive system. As soon as he or one of his teammates' steals the ball, it is off to the races to be an offensive threat. 

    For the sake of it, watch this goal, too. And this one. And especially this one.

    In all of them, Paulinho comes into the box sprinting like an arrow and takes one touch to net the ball. It is crazy to think that he was Corinthians' leading scorer in 2012, playing defensive mid

    With the word, former AC Milan and current Paris St-German defender, Thiago Silva:

    Paulinho provides pace, strength and quality goals in the middle of the park.

    Paulinho is a wonderful defensive mind, but is even more dangerous in the offensive half of the pitch. 

Headers

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    Paulinho's strength has been mentioned already, but not the aspect of his game that benefits the most from it: headers. 

    Paulinho has a powerful header and uses his lower body strength masterfully to get the ball exactly where he wants it to go.

    It is really futile to try to describe Paulinho's heading skills with words, so the above video and this one will have to do the job.

    Llet's just put it this way: he is a player who can change the outcome of a game with his headers. In both videos featured in this slide, his team was either trailing or tied in a critical point of the match. That is, until Paulinho came along and headed the ball into the net. 

Pace, Tempo and Ball Distribution

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    It's time to bring back Thiago Silva's quote from a previous slide:

    Paulinho provides pace, strength and quality goals in the middle of the park.

    Pace. What does Thiago Silva mean by that?

    Basically, when Paulinho is not scoring goals or stopping them, he is setting up his teammates to do the same. It is typical of Corinthians to play as well as Paulinho is that day. 

    In other words: as Paulinho goes, so does his team.

    To continue this article's video tradition, please watch closely the above video where he starts the play for Romarinho's goal and how he does the same for Guerrero's goal in this video

    Paulinho is a perfect midfielder in the sense that he does it all. 

Leadership

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    Paulinho has also proven he can be a great leader on and off the pitch. 

    Highly respected by his teammates, Paulinho has worn Corinthians' captain's armband several times. 

    Also, according to a FIFA report, Paulinho is a "very decisive person who, once his choice is made, follows it through to the very end." 

    He is able to lead teams to titles with his determination and hard work—a proven fact, as he has won three major titles in two years with Corinthians. 

    Even better, the same FIFA article describes Paulinho as an incredibly humble person, as showcased by the following quote:

    It has all happened so fast. I just hope things continue in the same vein.  

    Internazionale is probably after Paulinho for his great skill, but they will fall in love with him over his high character and driven mentality.