The Corinthians midfielder arrives in England a year after helping guide his club to the Copa Libertadores title, and having just played a key role in Brazil’s triumph at the Confederations Cup on home soil.
With a transfer fee of around £17 million, he is an absolute bargain. A classically English style midfielder, with tremendous lung power, solid technique and an ability to score goals, Paulinho keeps his team ticking over well, with good passing ability and an important role in terms of pressing the opponents high up the pitch and winning back possession. He has been likened by many to Frank Lampard, and the comparisons are clear to see.
Paulinho has enjoyed a strange career, having left his club Pão de Açúcar to move to Lithuania and then Poland. He was not that successful, and soon returned to Brazil with Pão de Açúcar, but developed superbly since, moving onto Corinthians. Having played a key role in their Brazilian title success of 2011, as the heart of the midfield, he then guided them to their first ever Libertadores triumph last year and then to their second World Club Cup title last December against Chelsea.
This is a player who seems set for the big time, and indeed he had Real Madrid after him just before he sealed the deal to join Tottenham. There he will link up with countryman Sandro in what promises to be an exceptionally dynamic midfield next season. Sandro is a smart and positionally sound defensive midfielder who offers protection to the back four and solid passing ability. Alongside Paulinho this Brazilian pair will give Tottenham a very solid central midfield which will be hard to penetrate and break through. With Moussa Dembele just ahead of them, the pace of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon and then an as yet unknown forward, Tottenham are shaping up well ahead of next season. This is a technical and pacey side that Andre Villas Boas is constructing, and there are signs that the Portuguese is looking to turn his team into a devastating counter attacking unit.
Villas Boas recently told Portuguese paper O Jogo. “I should have respected [England’s] culture from the start. The Premier League is guided by this dynamic: ball lost – ball recovered – ball lost again.”
That was a very clear hint as to what lies ahead for Tottenham next season. This new team is going to be based on making ruthlessly quick and effective transitions from defence to attack and visa-versa. There are few players better for making that transition than the all round talent that is Paulinho, and for that reason, he could well be one of the signings of the summer.