Cruzeiro eye Paulinho as possible replacement for Arsenal-linked Lucas Silva

Cruzeiro want to sign Tottenham midfielder Paulinho - who could be a replacement for Arsenal target Lucas Silva.

As an emerging star of Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil side, Paulinho was highly rated as the samba stars clinched the 2013 Confederations Cup with a 3-0 win over Spain.

Despite interest from Real Madrid, Paulinho chose Tottenham as his next destination less than a week after that thumping win over Spain, leaving Corinthians for £17m.

An energetic, box to box midfielder who had impressed in Brazil, Paulinho was seen as Tottenham's big hope when Andre Villas-Boas made him a key part of the Spurs midfield at the start of the 2013-14 Premier League season.

Yet, despite a bright start, Paulinho has faded into obscurity, now little more than an afterthought for manager Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane.

That's led to rumours of a January exit for the 26-year-old, with Cruzeiro confirming earlier this week that they wanted to sign him on loan.

"Paulinho is a situation that can happen but only on loan," said president Alexandre Mattos, "We have asked several times and Tottenham are still unclear on whether they will lend. If Paulinho has the possibility of leaving I'm sure he would want to come here."

Cruzeiro will be looking for midfield options in January because of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future of Arsenal target Lucas Silva.

Silva, 21, has caught the eye of Arsene Wenger, as well as Inter Milan and Real Madrid in recent months, and a move is expected sooner rather than later.

Cruzeiro's public pursuit of Paulinho surely means that they are preparing for Silva's departure in January; so, inadvertently, the availability of a Tottenham player could strengthen Arsenal!

Many made such a remark when Real Madrid sold Mesut Ozil to the Gunners after they had signed Gareth Bale from Spurs, and if Spurs allow Paulinho to move on to Cruzeiro in January, it could push Silva closer to the Emirates Stadium.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch