Now that Real Madrid have managed to poach Carlo Ancelotti from Paris Saint–Germain, it seems that the new manager’s first real foray into the transfer market will begin with a move for Brazilian midfielder Paulinho.
Paulinho was thought to be close to agreeing a deal to move to Tottenham Hotspurs, with the London club attempting to construct a deal for the midfielder. Unfortunately for Hotspurs, Madrid’s interest has ignited a bidding war and Corinthians are now holding out for the full £17 million release clause in order to part with their star player.
Hotspurs will be particularly aggrieved at Madrid’s late attempt to hijack the deal seeing as they have tracked Paulinho for a while now, and Andre Villas–Boas was hoping to add some craft to his midfield with the Brazilian fitting his bill perfectly.
Paulinho’s camp have been relatively quiet on the situation and although the player has been vocally keen to move to London, it wouldn’t be entirely unexpected if he backed out of the deal and moved to Madrid. Madrid are unequaled when it comes to turning a player’s head, and the noises coming from Ancelotti’s corner are that they are confident of snatching Paulinho from under the noses of Hotspurs.
Villas-Boas wanted to add a box-to-box player to his midfield so that he could ask Sandro to sit deeper while Moussa Dembele and Paulinho pushed on to create opportunities and conduct the Tottenham orchestra from central positions. However, that plan is on shaky ground now and Hotspurs may be forced to look at other opportunities.
One such opportunity would be for Villas-Boas to move for Ajax’s Christian Eriksen, who would be available for about the same price and can do the same job arguably better than Paulinho.
With Liverpool turning their attention to £23 million man Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Madrid hijacking Paulinho, the route for Hotspurs to move for Eriksen is clear and Villas-Boas could do far worse than to try and tempt the Dane to London as he bids to fire Hotspurs back into the Champions League.