Tottenham Hotspur's manager Andre Villas-Boas watches his team as they take on Southampton during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane in London May 4, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) )
If Gareth Bale ever decides to leave this summer, Tottenham Hotspur has backup plan ready. According to a number of reports, the team is close to signing Corinthians midfielder Paulinoh.
ESPN reports that Andre Villas-Boas' side could sign Paulinho for 17 million pounds.
"The situation is well underway," said Paulino about the possibility of a deal going through. "We have to agree on some details of the negotiation, so I can't say he will leave yet, but the negotiations are good."
The 24-year old Brazilian is currently playing for his national side in the Confederations Cup. He tallied in Brazil's 3-0 win over Japan and has been considered one of the team's most important players.
Whether the decision to buy Paulinho is tied to a potential Bale move remains to be seen. Tottenham's 2012-13 MVP has been linked with Real Madrid for the last few weeks. Madrid Sporting Director Zinedane Zidane has continually insinuated his club's desire to add the Welshman to the team's stable of superstars.
"The talk about Gareth Bale is not a surprise," said Zidane. "'It is impossible to have the season he just had and not be linked with the biggest clubs in Europe. If any club is going to tempt Spurs, then it will take big money - maybe even record-breaking money."
He added, "There are four or five clubs at the moment who have the finances not to be put off by a record-breaking fee like that."
However, Villas-Boas has stated that he has no intention of moving his best player.
"We have the pledge of the chairman that Bale is not going to leave the club," Villas-Boas said in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca.