Brazilian midfielder Paulinho is too busy thinking about the Confederations Cup to worry about where he’ll be playing this fall. At least, that’s what the Corinthians midfielder is claiming in the face of strengthening links to Tottenham Hotspur, where he would join Moussa Dembélé and countryman Sandro at the base of André Villas-Boas’s midfield.
The 24-year-old, whose style has been compared to that of Frank Lampard’s, isn’t shying from the rumors. As he tries to recover from injury ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal, Paulinho’s addressing the buzz, saying an offer’s been made from Spurs to Corinthians (the Guardian’s reporting says the bid’s been accepted), but a decision will have to wait until after the Confederations Cup:
“There is an official offer from Tottenham to Corinthians,” Paulinho told reporters after Brazil’s 4-2 win over Italy, which he did not play in because of an ankle injury.
“But, as I did when there was an Inter Milan offer, I’ll sit and decide with my family before I make any decision. I will only do it after the Confederations Cup because it’s hard to deal with all these things.”
At this point in his career, this seems like a now-or-never situation. Paulinho’s 24. He’s been at Corinthians since 2010. The fee (just over $26 million) is unlikely to get any higher, and while Spurs aren’t exactly Barcelona, there are few more prominent teams in world soccer. And how many of them are in the market for a midfielder like Paulinho? If this opportunity closes, he might find himself in Ukraine within a couple of seasons.
Chelsea are still said to be in the picture, but they’ve also been linked with every decent midfielder in Europe. Spurs, however, have had their bid confirmed by both Corinthians officials and the player himself. While Paulinho may be trying to leverage another club to get a better deal (or, destination), Tottenham look close to adding a second Brazilian to their midfield.