At the start of last season campaign, a large majority of Blaugranes supporters believed that Paulinho would be one of the worst signings in Barcelona history. In fact, since the signing of Douglas, no player has been ridiculed as much for his apparent inability to play at the top level.
After a stint in England with Tottenham though, Paulinho regained his confidence in China and even played consistently in the Brazilian national team. Leading up to this campaign, the question being posed was it time to sell? Well Barcelona have, agreeing to a deal to send Paulinho back to China.
As we know, Paulinho started off the campaign brilliantly. With his strong, aggressive frame and mindset, he went on several runs that seemed Messi-esque in his ability to shrug off defenders.
Not only that, Paulinho seemed to have formed an instant connection with Messi and was instrumental to Valverde’s tactics. Not only was Paulinho making an impact with Messi though, he was instrumental in deciding several games early with a multitude of goals and assists throughout the first few weeks of the campaign.
As time moved on though, his inclusion in the starting XI began to become slightly more questionable. Paulinho was still playing with the same drive and intensity that had marked the beginning of his campaign, but the Brazilian simply wasn’t having the effect on games that he wanted to, nor did Blaugranes.
With the signing of Coutinho, Dembele’s emergence from the shadow of injuries, and Rakitic and Busquets playing great football, a starting spot for Paulinho wasn’t as justifiable.
While it is fantastic to have a backup like the Brazilian, one begins to wonder what other kind of players Barcelona could acquire. Juan Mata, the Spaniard, who seems to be linked with Barcelona every transfer window has come up again.
Mata suits the Barcelona style of play much more and has already exhibited his quality in the League (winning Chelsea’s player of the year two years in a row).
When Barcelona invested 40 million euros in Paulinho, fans, pundits, and a majority of the soccer community laughed in their faces. Now, building upon a successful first season with Barcelona and playing extremely well at the World Cup in Russia, Paulinho’s value would never reach a higher level.
Selling him for a 10 million euro profit is a tremendous move by the Barcelona board. With Iniesta now gone, the bench consists of Andre Gomes, Sergi Roberto, and new signing Arthur and that is nowhere near good enough to compete for the Champions League.
A name that has been sprinkled in some rumors who would be an ideal signing is a former Barcelona player… Thiago Alcantara. As we know, Thiago came up through La Masia and only left Barcelona to play more matches.
Now that he’s developed into a world star, Barcelona can offer him a chance to come home and carry the torch that his predecessor Iniesta held for so long. While the board selling Paulinho was a good business move, they must now find further midfield reinforcements for this upcoming campaign.