Barcelona have unveiled former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho to the Nou Camp faithful, but this £40 million was not spent adequately.
Paulinho first came to fame back in 2013, when he lit up the Confederations Cup as Brazil lifted the trophy before earning a £18 million move to England to play for Tottenham. Just two seasons later, Paulinho had been found out in the Premier League, with his lack of physique, technical ability and work rate making him one of the worst signings in the Club’s recent history.
After recovering his career in China under the management of Luis Felipe Scolari, the 29 year old has now earned himself a move to Barcelona in a deal worth €40 million.
In my opinion Paulinho is NOT the man to fill the void left by former midfield great Xavi. The man that would’ve been a much better option would’ve been Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri, and here is why.
Jean-Michael Seri was reportedly available for a fee of €40 million, the exact same as Paulinho. Yet, Seri is three years younger than Paulinho and is in the peak of his career, whilst the Brazilian [Paulinho] has yet to fulfil his potential even at age 29, and is likely to decline in the coming years.
2. Fitting the mould.
Paulinho and Jean-Michael Seri are two contrasting midfield options, with Paulinho seen as more of an attacking playmaker, playing in more advanced positions than the Ivorian. In my opinion this does not help the midfield problems left by Xavi since his departure back in 2015. Seri, however, fits the profile more than Paulinho, taking up more defensive/deeper positions last season which are similar to that of Xavi Hernandez during his time in Catalonia.
Paulinho contributed to 16 goals last season (12 goals, four assists) in a more advanced position and in a less prestigious league than Seri. Jean-Michael Seri contributed to the same amount of goals (16) as Paulinho last term, in a deeper position than the 29 year old. (Seven goals, nine assists).
4. Midfield Freedom
During this golden generation of talent in La Liga, a player of Paulinho’s ilk is less likely to have attacking freedom when playing for a team that contains Lionel Messi. In order to accommodate Messi, the midfield three behind is going to have to require a lot of positional discipline. This means that Seri will be a better fit for the Blaugrana, as he is a deeper midfielder, and has more assists than Paulinho, meaning he is likely to suit the system better.
5. Class recognises class.
Xavi Hernandez, who was a mainstay in arguably the greatest club side of all time, urged the Barcelona board earlier in the window to sign “fantastic” Seri.
“When I was told that a player from Nice was called the ‘African Xavi’, I followed him very closely, inevitably,”
“I did not know him and I was stunned: I haven’t seen such midfield talent for a while. [His] short game, long game, tactical intelligence, distance shooting, personality, game organisation…wow! He would go so well at Barça … He can play anywhere in the middle. Seri is fantastic. He has what is called Barcelona’s Barça DNA. Without any hesitation.”
“I hope Barça sign him [this summer] because otherwise he will be worth double next year.”
What do you make of this deal? Is it poor business from Barcelona? Let us know in the comments below!