Tottenham's season has all but disintegrated as the club continue to struggle to face up to life without Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale. Joe Lewis' major investment over the summer in a bold attempt to breach the Champions League places for the second time in four years looks to have fallen flat as the season enters its final quarter.
The North London club brought in no less than seven players on the back of the Bale sale. Until recently, there was an arguable case for reasoning that the most effective of the summer recruits was Brazil midfielder Paulinho.
His form has however taken an alarming dip over the last four or five weeks. Perhaps a first season in Europe, fatigue at having played without a break since the beginning of 2013, or self preservation prior to the World Cup, goes part of the way to explaining his recent anonymity.
The pace of domestic football in Brazil is far slower than in England. Being afforded less time and space to dwell on the ball has undoubtedly affected his game.
As his form has waned, there have been various stories linking him with a move away from White Hart Lane. Earlier this week, the 25-year-old was linked with Italian club AS Roma, as reported by The Daily Mirror.
Currently second in the Italian Serie A table and looking probable Champions League entrants next season, that platform would give Paulinho an excellent opportunity to showcase his talents on the greatest club stage in the game.
If rumours are to be believed, Paulinho could fill a hole left by Roma's talismanic midfielder Miralem Pjanic. A move to Manchester United could be on the cards, as reported by the Manchester Evening News.
Kevin Strootman was signed last summer and, if he stays in the Italian capital, could form a perfect partnership with Paulinho in the same mould as Ramires with the Selecao.
Leaving Daniele de Rossi as the anchor, Strootman and Paulinho would play the box-to-box role. Free to roam and probe at will, their efforts would fit wonderfully in coach Rudi Garcia's offensive mentality.
Roma have scored 56 goals in 29 matches this season. Whilst Paulinho has netted four times in the Premier League this term, one of Tottenham's most well-documented problems, particularly under Andre Villas-Boas, was profligacy in front of goal.
Shipping out a player they could realistically make a profit on to bring in a proven goalscorer would be hugely beneficial at White Hart Lane with all clubs now needing to abide by the restrictive Financial Fair Play (FFP) laws.
For Paulinho personally, his flexibility means he can fit into just about any midfield formation. His pace may also be better suited to the Italian game, rendering him more effective. At times, he can look lethargic in the middle of a Premier League park.
When he was at Corinthians, he excelled in a more creative role alongside defensive stalwart Ralf. At Tottenham he has mainly operated as part of a midfield three alongside compatriot Sandro and Moussa Dembele.
That has meant his role has been less expressive and, coupled with an ankle injury he suffered in December, may excuse that lacking playmaker's instinct at the business end of a challenging first campaign in English football. He has managed just two assists in the Premier League this season.
It has been a mixed first season abroad, but what he could bring to Roma is a winning mentality. Whilst at Corinthians, Paulinho lifted the Campeonato Brasileiro, the Copa Libertadores and the FIFA World Club Cup crowns.
With Brazil he was instrumental in the side's run to the Confederations Cup title in June, scoring the winner in the semi-final against Uruguay. And this year, of course, he will be part of the team that tries to bring home the World Cup.
Without a Scudetto since 2001, someone who has experienced the big time would be an invaluable asset to Rudi Garcia's weaponry.
Tottenham supporters look like they may have to settle for Europa League football for the 2014/15 season. If Paulinho truly wants a taste of the domestic big time, a move may be in his favour as well as Tottenham's, who will not be able to ignore large offers should they fail to land the all-important Champions League revenue.
At the dawn of the FFP era, that extra income will come to represent the financial holy grail.
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