Sunday, July 22, 2018

FC Barcelona Need To Sign Paulinho This Summer

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, La Liga 7 Jul 2017

Paulinho Guangzhou Evergrande

Paulinho would be a great signing for FC Barcelona this summer – Credit: Daily Mail

FC Barcelona will have to modify their transfer strategy after failing to land the player they wanted.

Barcelona wanted to sign Marco Verratti during the transfer window. However, PSG have been reluctant to sell their star midfielder. And it seems both parties are not going to reach an agreement any time soon.

This less-than-ideal scenario forced Los Blaugranas to change their strategy. Verratti had always been the club’s preferred option, but now they must look for alternatives. And the best option to bolster the team’s midfield is no other than Paulinho.

Who’s Paulinho?

Paulinho has seen a meteoric rise to his value over the past 12 months. After falling out of favour at Tottenham Hotspur, he decided to make a bold move and joined Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League. It might sound off at first, but this would be the best decision he could ever make in his career.

Paulinho went from being a player who’s future was in doubt, to someone several important clubs want. The main reason for this change was not playing in China, but rather establishing as a regular for Tite in the Brazilian National Team. Everybody started seeing how Paulinho was excelling as a box-to-box midfielder, and clubs soon started knocking Guangzhou’s door. However, the Chinese club do not want to accept any offers yet.

The Best Option For Barcelona This Summer

Barcelona have reportedly submitted two offers to sign Paulinho, but for now he remains in Guangzhou. There are two months left before the end of the transfer market. But Barcelona need to do everything they can to land him. A box-to-box midfielder would become the perfect link between Sergio Busquets and someone more attacking-minded like Andres Iniesta or Ivan Rakitic.

There are other options available on the market. Ander Herrera, Jean-Michaël Seri, Oriol Romeu, and even Miralem Pjanic could move to Camp Nou based on reports. However, none of them fits as perfect as Paulinho would in this current Barcelona squad. Newly-appointed manager Ernesto Valverde always uses a box-to-box midfielder, and Paulinho seems to be the best option to fulfill that role.

Imagine this – Paulinho alongside Rakitic, Iniesta or Andre Gomes and with Busquets behind them. Paulinho is not the most technical player in the world, but he always does all the little things no one else wants to do. He would allow Rakitic and Gomes more space to move forward, while also helping Busquets in the defensive duties.

It only takes a closer look to other top teams in Europe to see that a competent box-to-box midfielder is key. Bayern Munich have Arturo Vidal. Juventus have Miralem Pjanic. Real Madrid have Casemiro. Manchester City have Fernandinho. Chelsea have Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante. Should we go on?

How Much Should Barcelona Pay For Him?

The transfer fee seems to be the main reason why Paulinho has not signed for FC Barcelona yet. Guangzhou Evergrande do not want to sell their star player. And their manager, Luis Felipe Scolari, has said repeatedly that the club do not intend to let go of their best element. Since they do not need to let him go, Paulinho would probably have to force a move away from the CSL.

For that to happen, Barcelona will have to overpay. And if we consider Guangzhou have already rejected two bids for the midfielder, then Los Blaugranas have to make a bigger effort. It seems likely that a bid somewhere around the €60 to €70 million range would be needed to pry him away from China.

If that’s the case, Barcelona needs to pay and do whatever it takes to sign him. They must land Paulinho to show they are serious in their pursuit to dethrone Real Madrid next season. Otherwise, they might be forced to settle for another year in which they can’t conquer their goals. And Barcelona fans do not want that.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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