Having commanded a world record €222 million fee for Neymar Jr, Barcelona are expected to invest heavily in their squad in this transfer window.
News of them splashing €40 million on a Brazilian midfielder should not come as a major surprise then – until you hear who they are trying to buy, that is!
According to BBC Sport, Barca have agreed a €40 million fee for ex-Spurs midfielder, Paulinho. The Brazilian joined Spurs in 2013 for a fee in excess of €18 million from Corinthians.
After an underwhelming two-year stint, many felt that the north Londoners did well to flog him to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande for a reported €11 million.
The Brazilian failed to shine during his time at White Hart Lane but still managed to become a regular fixture in Brazilian squads over the past few seasons. He has scored nine goals in 41 international appearances since making his debut in 2011, and was a member of the squad that won the Confederations Cup in 2013.
Last season, he helped Evergrande clinch the Chinese Super League but few could have imagined the Paulinho who slouched around midfield for Tottenham turning out for Barcelona.
Yes, this Paulinho.
While he may have picked up his performances for Guangzhou Evergrande, Barcelona fans must be scratching their heads at this particular transfer. Having been linked with the considerable talents of Coutinho, Dembele and Asensio in recent weeks, you would have to question the wisdom of splashing out €40 million on a Premier League flop, essentially.
Barca seemed to miss a trick with Asensio. He did have a release clause of €75 million up until recently and the Catalans did display significant interest. Just not enough interest to actually trigger the clause.
His release fee now? €350 million. Having watched his Super Cup performances this week, €75 million could have been money well spent. The transfer policy have certainly left Guillem Balague baffled.
Barcelona missed Isco and Asensio for around €4m each and pay €40 for Paulinho #excuseme?
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 14, 2017
Perhaps Barcelona feel like they need a different style of midfielder to reclaim crowns in Europe and in Spain this year.
From the outside looking in, it does seem to be the latest strange move at a time where Barca’s transfer business of late has not been rock solid.
Last season, a combined total of €65 million was spent bringing in Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer from Valenica. Neither made much of an impact for the Catalans.
Prior to that, they spent a combined €51 million on Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal. Again, neither player has managed to nail down a starting place.
While squad depth is essential in the modern game, it seems Barcelona are slipping behind Real Madrid, in terms of savvy dealings in the transfer market.
Noel Ryan, Pundit Arena