Twenty six year old Paulinho is gone. To China. Guangzhou Evergrande for around £10M or so. Congratulations on your early retirement mate and thanks for the Braziliant performance against Stoke and that back heeled winner away to Cardiff. Whatever happened to that other Paulinho some of us witnessed, storming around the pitch during the Confederations Cup? The one that departs doesn't seem that bothered about his destination.
And so begins the deconstruction of the group of players we bought off the back of selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. I remember that summer all too well. So much hope and confidence, so much ignorance too. How on earth did so many of us side step the fact that seven new players would be more chaotic than poetic? Talking about side stepping, back to our departing midfielders...
What did Paulinho give us?
Not a lot. He was compared to Frank Lampard. Box to box, energetic and likely to score a few. What we witnessed was akin to blind folding Jermaine Jenas (before spinning him around twenty times) and letting him loose out on the pitch. It was dizzying. At least with Jenas we often got treated to some wonderful stand-out performances (mostly against Arsenal). Paulinho only resembled a samba inspired footballer twice. That aforementioned cameo at the Lane with tricks and flicks against Stoke City and that back-heel.
He was tired from the Confeds. He was distraught and broken from the World Cup. These the backbone of the excuses some made as they prayed for something, anything to prove there was a dynamic player somewhere in there. Sadly he just lacked discipline and positioning. Two key components. Sure, he got himself into the penalty box and scored the odd goal (guessing this was as close to that Lampard comparison we ever got). For £17M he proved that a good tournament doesn't necessarily make a good player.
Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Roberto Soldado are the next ones in line to go for a lot less than we spent on them. Although there's no chance of getting their value back when taking into account their wages since signing. To think this is how we spent that £100M. To think we expected something different to what we go. Still, I'm as guilty as most. Especially with say Soldado who scored plenty in La Liga and looked technically superb when striking the ball (then again, Roman Pavlyuchenko could strike a ball with venom but not that much more). If football (and Spurs) have taught us anything it's to always expect disappointment. That way when something good happens you're pleasantly surprised.
Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli. From the Magnificent Seven to the Three Amigos. Just like Spurs to get cowboys in when rebuilding.
And the dismantlement continues. Capoue gone to Watford. We are edging closer and closer to three (the magic number?)