What Paulinho will bring to Spurs

Posted by Dan Fitch

At the time of writing Tottenham have all but confirmed the signing of Paulinho. The Brazilian has stated that he is leaving Corinthians and is on his way to Spurs. All that's left to do is wait for the official announcement on the club website.

It's a major coup for Spurs to sign a player who looks likely to start in the Brazilian team that will go into the 2014 World Cup as favourites.

Very often Tottenham's financial situation dictates that the club only signs players when they are very young, or toward the end of their careers. Paulinho is at the very peak of his powers and comes to the club as a mature 24-year-old.

For a player still comparatively young, he has plenty of experience winning things. Paulinho has been a vital cog in the Corinthians team that has won the Brasileirao, Copa Libertadores and Club World Cup. That will be vital to a Spurs squad short of players with such experience.

Anyone who watched him at the Confederations Cup will have been impressed with his box-to-box play. I see a player who will form a fearsome three-man midfield unit alongside Moussa Dembele and Sandro next season, particularly away from home when the side looks to play on the break.

Strong and athletic, Paulinho gives Andre Villas-Boas lots of options in midfield. Defensively, he is strong enough to deputise for Sandro in a holding midfield role when his fellow Brazilian is sidelined. When they start in the same side, Paulinho can push forward and be the driving force in the Tottenham midfield.

Mousa Dembele too has the ability to push play on and drive past players, but what Paulinho will bring that the Belgian does not, is goals from midfield.

Often compared to Frank Lampard in Brazil, Paulinho has that happy knack of arriving late in the box from deep to find himself in goal-scoring positions. This is something that Tottenham have lacked for a few seasons. The likes of Luka Modric, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Sandro and Dembele have never got anywhere near double figures in the goal-scoring stakes (or in Parker's case, even a single figure).

That's going to be vital as Spurs look to switch to a 4-3-3 formation next season. There was an overreliance on goals from Gareth Bale last season and whether the Welshman stays at the club or not, it's necessary for others to step up and share some of the burden.

We saw Paulinho's aerial prowess as he headed home the winner for Brazil against Uruguay to reach the Confederations Cup final. Perhaps though it will be his ability when defending set pieces that proves more important for the team.

Tottenham struggled when defending corners and toward the end of last season when the diminutive Parker was standing in for Sandro, the team seemed to concede a goal from such a situation every week.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the potential signing of Paulinho and how Spurs are signing a core of big, strong players. I think that contributed to Tottenham's impressive away form last season. No longer are they a soft touch. Nowadays Spurs are more like a Stoke City who can actually play.

I'm so pleased it seems that AVB is being backed this summer. Last season he had to blend a team together from a squad of players that included many that he either didn't rate, or couldn't flourish in the system that he wished to employ.

Villas-Boas did a good job, despite such restrictions. Now he has the chance to truly put his own stamp on the side. The signing of Paulinho and the likely capture of David Villa will see Tottenham take a step towards AVB's Porto blueprint.

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