RIO DE JANEIRO -- Tottenham has been reinstalled as the favorite to sign Corinthians midfielder Paulinho and is said to be ready to meet the 17 million pound buyout clause in the Brazilian’s contract. Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
Sources at the Brazilian club have dismissed claims from Shakhtar Donetsk director Sergiy Palkin that the 24-year-old has signed a pre-contract with Inter Milan, although the Serie A outfit is still expected to compete for the player’s signature.
Paulinho’s representative held talks with Tottenham last week over a deal for his client, and a bid is expected after extensive talks were held, despite Corinthians president Mario Gobbi insisting that the Sao Paulo-based club has not received any offers for its star.
Spurs are understood to have indicated that they are willing to pay around 14 million pounds to land the Brazil international but are prepared to increase their offer as manager Andre Villas-Boas looks to boost his squad to mount a top-four challenge next term.
Franco Baldini, Tottenham’s incoming technical director who is currently on holiday, is also believed to be a fan of Paulinho and has a strong network of contacts in Brazilian football.
Paulinho is not expected to make a final decision on his future until after Brazil’s involvement in the Confederations Cup, but Tottenham is considered the favorite to sign the box-to-box midfielder, who has previously been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City.
Tottenham is targeting the Brazilian market and has also held talks over a move for Atletico Mineiro playmaker Bernard, although Villas-Boas is concerned that the 20-year-old may be too lightweight to play in the Premier League at this stage of his career.
Spurs are not expecting to complete any transfer business before the end of the month but are eager to improve their squad this summer, not least to make a point to Gareth Bale, as the award-winning footballer of the year attracts interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
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