Paulinho may not have enjoyed the success at Tottenham that he and Lilywhites the world over had hoped for following his £17m transfer from Corinthians last summer, but that’s not stopped Chelsea registering an interest in the Brazilian.
The Blues are keen on strengthening their well-stocked samba contingent with a shock move for the 25-year-old, who has shone in recent weeks since his reintegration into the Spurs side.
Such a switch seems implausible given the shared animosity and ambitions of both capital clubs, but the bargain-savvy negotiators who make the deals at Spurs may dangle the Canarinho star in order to land top target Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian’s ability to put the ball in the net on the regular apparently doesn’t sit well with Jose Mourinho, who wants rid of the 20-year-old and with the Lilywhites often electing to omit well-travelled Paulinho from the team this term, a satisfactory solution involving the exchange of players could feasibly be reached.
AC Milan and Roma are also thought to be in the running to snare the former Real Madrid target and, unless the defeated Champions League semi-finalists are prepared to furnish the Lilywhites’ ranks with the Blues’ in-demand Belgian, it looks as though Serie A could be the next stop on the globetrotting midfielder’s world tour.
Paulinho is proving what an asset he is in the closing stages of the campaign though, which suggests that Spurs would be foolish to sell him to anyone, even if it gives them the advantage in the Lukaku battle royal.
Since Small Paul returned to the fold following Spurs’ 4-0 trouncing at Liverpool, Tim Sherwood’s side have strung together a four-match undefeated streak, besting three of four adversaries.
He’s started each, falling two minutes shy of completing all four matches and has averaged an impressive pass completion rate of 86 per cent in these games.
Such late-season figures lend favour to the theory that his underwhelming first tenure in the top flight was down to Premier League acclimatisation and 2014/15 could see him produce the money Spurs paid the big bucks for.
He’s set for a fifth successive start when Sherwood takes his charges to east London to tackle West Ham, where they’re priced at 4/5 to prevail.