Inter Milan’s £21m asking price for Colombian midfield man Fredy Guarin has seen Tottenham turn their attention to Corinthians’ star Paulinho.
The Brazilian international and Club World Cup winner is set to be available for around £17m.
Primarily a defensive-minded player, Paulinho offers the physical attributes of Sandro, with a greater astuteness in possession, as well as an eye for goal, which England found out to their cost when he bagged the equaliser in their 2-2 draw at the Maracana earlier in the month.
The 24-year-old’s arrival is likely to spell the end of Scott Parker’s Spurs career, with Andre Villas-Boas seeking a greater level of energy in his midfield ahead of the forthcoming campaign in which he aims to eradicate last season’s final day heartache and win a spot in the top four.
Paulinho offers similar characteristics in terms of the tenacity and aggression Parker brings, but he also boasts an aerial prowess that the Englishman lacks and, more importantly, can threaten the opponent’s goal, as well as defend his own.
His performance in the Club World Cup final, in which his Corinthians side defeated Chelsea, saw comparisons drawn with two midfield stars of Spurs’ fierce rivals.
A likeness to compatriot Ramires was borne out of his energetic display, while an ability to arrive in the box at the right moment was regarded by many as Frank Lampard-esque.
His bursts from deep to provide a central threat that Spurs sorely missed last time around, placing too much of an onus on Gareth Bale to make things happen from out wide. While the Welshman invariably did drag his side out of trouble, had a few teammates pitched in with a few extra goals, the north Londoners probably would have secured a place in next season’s Champions League.
The addition of Paulinho could prove vital to their chances of achieving this goal next season and, with all of their adversaries set to invest heavily, it looks like a signing they must make. AVB’s men are currently priced up at 5/4 for a top four finish in 2013/14.
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