A key reason why Tottenham shouldn't be so quick to sell Paulinho

The Brazil international is being linked with a move back to his homeland, but Mauricio Pochettino may need him this January.

Much was made of Tottenham’s £100m+ spending spree last summer after selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, but of the seven players brought to White Hart Lane only Christian Eriksen and perhaps Nacer Chadli have lived up to their billing.

Arguably the most disappointing addition has been Paulinho; a Brazil international who was touted as having the drive, energy and eye for goal to power the North London club back into the top four.

The South American showed glimpses of his ability on occasions last term, but these flashes were largely forgotten by Spurs fans, with missed chances and weak tackling instead focussed upon.

This term, with Mauricio Pochettino now in the Tottenham hotseat, first-team opportunities have been few and far between for Paulinho, with the Argentine coach preferring youthful duo Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason in the centre of the park.

With the Brazilian not starting a Premier League game this season so far and five substitute appearances adding up to a mere 105 minutes of action, rumours have been rife that Paulinho may be heading for the White Hart Lane door come January.

A return to former club Corinthians has been doing the rounds and on first sight there is certainly an argument for Spurs to consider offloading Paulinho and marking his acquisition as a failed venture.

However, despite the 26-year-old being out of favour currently, Pochettino may well need Paulinho in January with fixtures piling up.

With the African Cup of Nations taking place in Equatorial Guinea from January 17 to February 8, the White Hart Lane side will be robbed of Bentaleb for this period, who has been selected as part of Algeria’s tournament squad.

The North African national put in a valiant display at the World Cup in the summer and as such will be considered as one of the frontrunners for the competition - meaning Bentaleb could well be absent from club duty for the entirety.

With Tottenham having games against Sunderland, West Brom and fierce rivals Arsenal during this period, as well as the Capital One Cup semi-finals against Sheffield United, Paulinho could well be called upon in Bentaleb’s absence.

A player that starred in the Confederations Cup against some of the world’s top players before Spurs bought him, the North London faithful are yet to see the best from the Brazilian and the potential for a last chance could well be on the table in the new year.

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