Chelsea preparing Paulinho purchase from London rivals Spurs
Chelsea, 14/1 outsiders to win the Premier League title with Coral, could launch a shock move for Tottenham and Brazil midfielder Paulinho.
Tabloid reports claim that the Blues are prepared to offer £17m for his services – the same amount of money Spurs spent on the 25-year-old to land him from Corinthians last summer.
Paulinho, a box-to-box player, could be the long-term successor to Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard that Jose Mourinho is looking for.
His Blues crashed out of the Champions League at the penultimate hurdle in their last outing, as Atletico Madrid won their semi-final 3-1 on the night and on aggregate.
Despite scoring five Premier League goals in his debut season from a deep-lying midfield berth, Paulinho has struggled to make a lasting impact at White Hart Lane.
Playmaker Christian Eriksen has shone instead under Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood, but there is huge speculation that a change will be made in the dugout this summer.
Coral have a market open on who will be the next Spurs boss. Ajax manager Frank de Boer, who recently steered the Dutch giants to a fourth straight Eredivisie title, is the odds-on 10/11 favourite to take over, ahead of Southampton coach Mauricio Pochettino (4/1).
David Moyes, recently sacked by Manchester United, is behind those two in the betting at 8/1, while Netherlands national boss Louis van Gaal, linked strongly with the Old Trafford vacancy, is 20/1 to take over at Tottenham.
For all his perceived struggles during a maiden season in England, Paulinho remains a regular on Brazil manager Phil Scolari’s roster. He is set to play a key role in the Samba Boys engine room as they host the World Cup.
Paulinho partnered former Bayern Munich defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo throughout Brazil’s successful Confederations Cup campaign last summer. The likes of Manchester City’s Fernandinho and Ramires – a potential Chelsea teammate next term – are also competing for spots.
The Samba Boys are 3/1 favourites to land a record sixth World Cup crown on home soil, and kick the finals off next month against Croatia.