In the past week Tottenham have been linked with signing the Corinthians and Brazilian defensive midfielder José Paulo Bezerra Maciel Júnior a.k.a Paulinho for a rumored fee of £17 million.
By now we have probably all read his apparent quotes in the Telegraph:
“I feel I am ready to experience football at the highest level in Europe and the opportunity to play in England is a dream.
“It’s a great pleasure to be linked to such a great club like Tottenham. They have a reputation as one of the great clubs in England who play exciting, attacking football which suits my style.
“I couldn’t turn them down if they made me an offer. It would be a fantastic opportunity to play for Tottenham.”
He is also quoted in the Daily Mail to have said that he wants to decide his future after the Confederations Cup which Brazil is currently involved in. However, any deal is yet to be completed and with all Tottenham transfer rumors, they should be taken with a grain of salt until you see that player donning the white shirt with the blue cockerel upon it.
If he were to sign, however, I believe he would be better than a good signing. I think he would be a FANTASTIC signing.
Now I know many articles go around talking up his impressive goal scoring record from the midfield role at Corinthians (34 goals in 167 appearances), I would rather talk about his true role in the defensive side of things. Paulinho is known for his marauding runs forward but even better known for his physical prowess and his aerial ability. This is important in his ability at set pieces and defending corners as well as offensive set pieces.
Now as I said before, many articles don’t take this route when describing rumors but that’s where I come in to discuss the other aspects of why we failed to secure a top four spot and arguably a Europa League trophy.
Tottenham were awful at set pieces last year. No, I’m serious. AWFUL. So bad in fact that other teams were talking about ways to beat us by this method. An amazing article that speaks of this weakness is on a CHELSEA website that was getting prepared for the match between them (PLEASE see http://www.chelseadaft.org/2013/05/exposing-tottenham-weakness-corners.html.)
The truth is we conceded set pieces in the important part of last season to: Wigan (away), Everton (home), Basel (HOME & AWAY), Chelsea (away), and Stoke City (away). Little to be said we could have used our own physical presences in Sandro and Kaboul but I digress we conceded too many when it mattered most. I argue that if we could have cut these out we would have qualified for Champions League. That’s what one of our biggest weaknesses was as a team. Not a lack of strikers (however we do need a striker).
I truly believe a player like Paulinho would go a LONG way to fixing this problem and if we were to attain a player like him, we could go a long way to making a title challenge. Fans will point to our lack of a striker but look at the score lines of the games that we conceded corners that lost us points and a trophy: Wigan ended 2-2, Everton 2-2, Basel (home) 2-2, Basel (away) 2-2, Chelsea 2-2, Stoke 2-1. Obviously 2 goals a game should not be looked down at, but if we could cut out those corner goals, we would have gone a long way into picking up points and maybe a semi-final spot.
Besides that Paulinho is young (24) and is the starting Brazilian defensive midfielder whereas Fernandinho (28) didn’t even MAKE the team and Man City paid £30 million for him, so £17 million would be much more of a steal.
Anyway, here’s to hoping we sign him, a playmaker, and a striker and fit Townsend and Rose into our first team set up. I said in the title but I really do think he’s a FANTASTIC player.
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