Given the level of speculation that had sprung up around Paulinho over the past week or so, it was almost inevitable that he was going to score in Brazil’s opening Confederations Cup game against Japan.
Considering the 24-year-old also scored against England in their recent friendly with Brazil, Paulinho has demonstrated that he is much more than just a holding midfielder, and Tottenham Hotspur fans will be hoping the rumours that his agent is in England to hold talks about a possible move are true.
Paulinho showed all of his qualities in the win over Japan, in a box-to-box display that saw him help to effectively nullify the opposition’s attacking midfield, which included Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa, and also get on the scoresheet at the other end.
With Luis Gustavo playing just behind him in the midfield, in a role that Sandro might fulfill if the Corinthians player did move to Tottenham Hotspur, Paulinho was free to move around the pitch, and he was a key presence for Brazil both going forward and defensively.
As well as getting on the scoresheet, Paulinho laid on one chance for his team-mates, and was a threat at set pieces. Although the 24-year-old is not generally known for his goals, his record at club level shows that the two he scored recently for Brazil were not completely unexpected.
Paulino has scored 34 times in 167 appearances for Corinthians in the past four seasons, a solid return for a midfielder in his role that would be a boost to a Spurs’ central midfield that has rarely found the net this season.
If Spurs fans were not convinced of Paulinho’s quality before last night’s match, they will certainly now be hoping that their club can complete a deal for the Corinthians player. With Bernard and Leandro Damiao also rumoured to be on Spurs’ radar, they could have a young Brazilian core to their attack next year, although in the summer transfer market, anything can happen.
image: © Crystian Cruz