It is not uncommon for a player to endure one difficult period in an otherwise successful career. Yet, Real Madrid and PSG star Angel Di Maria will not be forever tainted by a disappointing spell at Manchester United and, by that logic, it is unfair to judge Paulinho’s whole career on two difficult years at Tottenham Hotspur.
Barcelona were the subject of intense internet mockery when they paid £35 million to sign the 29-year-old Brazilian from Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande in the summer (The Mail) – and Paulinho’s case was hardly helped when he failed to perform a simple keepy-up routine at his unveiling.
Yet, it’s fair to say the doubters have been handed a hearty slice of humble pie. The player who struggled so infamously in North London is thriving in Catalonia.
After a last-gasp winner against Getafe on Saturday, Paulinho ran riot as Barca thumped Eibar 6-1 on Tuesday night, scoring with a powerful header and dominating the midfield with power and guile. In many ways, Paulinho is perhaps the player Barcelona were expecting Andre Gomes to be when they signed him for £29 million from Valencia last summer (BBC).
Yet, ironically, it is the former Spurs flop that could push his Camp Nou team-mate towards North London. The Mail reports that Tottenham were close to signing Gomes on deadline day, only for Barca to pull the plug as they failed to find a replacement.
However, The Sun claims that Mauricio Pochettino’s side will make another attempt in January, possibly signing Gomes on loan of for just £20 million. The 24-year-old Portuguese international is reportedly keen on the switch too as he aims to find form ahead of the World Cup.
And, following Paulinho’s arrival, Gomes has played just 13 minutes of football in La Liga. Therefore, two years after departing, Spurs could finally have something to thank Paulinho for.