It’s the first signing of the post-Neymar era
Barcelona got 222 million euro for selling Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. With all that money, they should buy someone who can at least somewhat replace him, right? Well... Paulinho is a box-to-box midfielder with very little hype. Someone like Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund would ease the pain a lot more. He may still come, but for the moment, that’s not assured. Paulinho’s signing looks especially bad because of that.
It comes right on the heels of a big loss
Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. Instead of reinvigorating the supporters, the signing comes across as another letdown.
The “vote of no confidence” movement is gaining steam
Agusti Benedito’s vote of no confidence aims to sack Josep Maria Bartomeu from his position as president. Benedito’s motion will only work if he has popular support from the socis. It still is a long way until such a vote even takes place, but right now, it’s a good time for Benedito’s recruitment efforts.
He’s just not a popular signing
OK, this isn’t so much about timing. But this is the undercurrent behind all the reasons above. Paulinho is 29, expensive, and was playing in China beforehand. The fanbase has not warmed up to the possibility of his arrival at all during the summer, and the fact that it really happened hasn’t changed anyone’s mind.