Paulinho has failed to live up to his reputation since moving to North London in 2013, and Tim Vickery has suggested to ESPN why he has struggled.
Arriving in England with high expectations, the 30-capped international started his Spurs career solidly, but he has yet to truly show off his real worth. 62 games have brought an acceptable return of 10 goals and five assists, but the midfielder has never truly run a game in the way that he used to in his homeland.
His form for Corinthians saw him work his way into the international fold, and brought about his move to the Premier League, but he is still searching for a consistent place in Tottenham’s first-team, and he was even linked with a January exit from White Hart Lane, according to the London Evening Standard.
Paulinho ended up staying with the Lilywhites, and he impressed in his first Premier League start of the season against West Brom. Sitting in a deep role, Paulinho was used to dictate play rather than run from box-to-box, and the performance suggested that he may have a future under Mauricio Pochettino after all - as long as he changes position.
This view makes sense when related to recent comments made by Tim Vickery, who has suggested that a dearth of box-to-box midfielders in Brazil has caused the likes of Paulinho to be overrated in their homeland. Writing in ESPN, the South American football expert claimed that a separation in midfield roles has made the real all-round midfielders hard to find in the modern day, thus making them a valuable commodity - except when they leave Brazil.
He claimed: “In recent times, Brazilian football has often been marked by a strict separation in the centre of the pitch. Midfield has been divided into volantes -- who are largely defensive -- and meias, who attack. Proficient all-rounders -- either box-to-box runners or deep-lying playmakers -- have been thin on the ground.
“One possible explanation, then, is that Paulinho stood out at home because in Brazil they are members of a rare species of all-rounders. Take them to Europe, where players of this type are more common, and their shine disappears.”
Failing to live up to his role as an all-rounder, Paulinho may have to make sacrifices in his game if he intends to become a success at White Hart Lane. However, his performance against West Brom certainly showed a promising player in the new deeper position, and the Brazilian international could finally be making a name for himself in North London.