Watford’s Premier League recruitment drive has already begun, with free-agent duo Sebastian Prodl and Giedrius Arlauskis joining the club this summer, but Hornets fans can be forgiven for craving a big-name capture to celebrate their return to the top-flight.
Perhaps a Brazilian international in desperate need of revitalising his career will satisfy their hunger, as Spurs’ Paulinho is revealed to be the Londoners’ latest transfer target.
The midfielder’s career timeline has moved from starring in the Confederations Cup in 2013 and making a mildly impressive debut campaign for Tottenham, to flopping at his home World Cup and being leapfrogged by a pair of youngsters in the Lilywhites’ engine room.
His fall from favour under Mauricio Pochettino this past season, where he made just three Premier League starts and 14 in all competitions, means he is at severe risk of being sold. In fact, his exit has been a real possibility since January.
Although no club was able to stump up an acceptable fee for the box-to-box man in the winter, suitors for his signature were not in short supply, according to gossip mongers.
Due to the sheer number of sides linked with his capture back then, including Serie A’s Napoli and Brazil’s Sao Paulo, Watford should feel pretty pleased with themselves should they manage to pull off his signing.
Such a coup looks far from simple though, with bwin.com making it a 1/3 chance that the Brazilian is not a permanent Watford player by the 4th September, and offering 2/1 that he is.
Other options for the 26-year-old do not look widely available, however, and a desire to stay in the Premier League and prove his worth could aid Watford’s attempts at a marquee capture.
Paulinho would join another former Spurs Canary at Vicarage Road, where Heurelho Gomes operates as the number one goalkeeper having himself rebuilt his career following an extended spell on the Spurs sidelines.
If, like with Gomes, the Hornets can help Paulinho rediscover his best form, then they will be making quite the acquisition.
The former Corinthians star arrived in England with a reputation as a high-energy midfielder with an eye for goal, thanks to his 20-strike record in 86 appearances for the 2012 Copa Libertadores champions and two during the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Indeed, in his first campaign on these shores he was able to substantiate such a status, scoring eight times in 37 all-competition appearances for a Spurs side struggling to adapt without Gareth Bale.
Should he move across the capital to the Premier League newcomers, a prolonged period in the first team could see him return to those days and help Watford avoid their 7/10 odds for relegation.