A transfer which looks set to go through after the Confederations Cup is done and dusted is that of Corinthians midfielder Paulinho to Spurs.
The fee agreed is believed to be around the £17 million mark, activating his release clause, with the player himself stating that ‘It would be a pleasure to play for Tottenham.’ With the deal looking a mere formality, what would Paulinho offer to Spurs?
Paulinho is a powerful midfielder, best deployed as a box-to-box centre mid. He possesses excellent technical skills, is able to find his man with accurate passes and often looks to release wide players quickly and efficiently. He is a very good dribbler with an excellent engine, able to power through defences at speed, much like Chelsea’s Ramires.
Defensively, he is also very strong. Paulinho possesses excellent stamina and physicality which he uses to win possession for his team, through tackling and interceptions. So much so, that he can also be deployed as the sole anchor man in the midfield if need be.
Standing at 6ft tall, he is exceptional in set-piece situations at both ends of the pitch, able to head the ball with accuracy. Paulinho also has a good record in front of goal, scoring 13 goals for Corinthians from his midfield position.
How would Paulinho fit in?
Paulinho’s presence, would allow André Villas-Boas to revert to his favourite 4-3-3 system he was so successful with at Porto. Sandro would play the role of defensive midfielder, Paulinho as a box-to-box midfielder and Mousa Dembélé would play the role of advanced playmaker.
The significance of this system is the fluidity it would bring to this Tottenham team. Spurs will be able to alter positions on the fly, keeping the opposition guessing, for example Paulinho is perfectly capable of switching with Dembélé and playing the advanced playmaker role if Dembélé is caught out of position.
His added defensive steel onto an already strong defensive midfield pairing of Sandro and Dembélé would free up the full backs to be even freer with their forward runs.
Paulinho’s great athleticism would mean that Tottenham Hotspurs’ midfield will be in an even greater position to implement the high-line pressure system. All three midfielders possess great strength and stamina, meaning they will be more efficient in winning the ball back quickly and providing cover for their defenders who would be rushing back towards their own goal.
The increased ball winning should see Spurs gain more possession of the ball in matches and dominate games at home or away. As a result, Spurs should concede fewer goals and with the increased level of possession, are likely to score more goals too.
For £17 million, Paulinho would be an excellent signing for Spurs. He would fit in immediately at Spurs, and be of great benefit to the high line system. Not to mention, his great technical ability would help the forwards in the side, knowing that they have yet another accurate passer in the team to find them. AVB would relish having the Brazilian in his team.