By Greg Stobart
Tottenham have agreed a £17 million deal to sign Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from Corinthians.
The Brazil international will join Spurs after the Confederations Cup on a four-year contract, with the Londoners holding the option for a one-year extension.
Spurs will pay £15m for the 24-year-old with a further £2m in potential add-ons for the powerful midfielder, who has a £17m release clause in his Corinthians contract.
Paulinho will not put pen to paper with Tottenham until after the Confederations Cup and is still to complete a medical, but the transfer is now considered a formality by those involved in the deal.
Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk had also shown a strong interest in Paulinho but Spurs emerged as Paulinho’s preferred destination and were the only club to meet Corinthians’ demands.
Corinthians director of football Edu, the former Arsenal player, confirmed on Friday that negotiations were “well underway” between the clubs after a week of talks, with an agreement being reached on Saturday morning.
The player’s former club, Audax-SP, will receive 50 per cent of the transfer fee and have also approved the transfer.
Paulinho has expressed a desire to move to Europe and will join up with international team-mate Sandro in north London, while he is understood to have personally spoken to Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Goal revealed on Tuesday that Tottenham were confident of landing Paulinho, who is also highly regarded by Franco Baldini, the club’s newly appointed technical director.
Once Paulinho’s arrival is complete, Spurs will turn their attention to bolstering their strikeforce as they look to mount a challenge for a top-four finish next season.
Barcelona star David Villa is the north Londoners’ top target while they are also considering a move for Valencia forward Roberto Soldado.
Villa’s wage demands of £140,000-a-week have been a stumbling block but Spurs believe they are in a strong position to land Spain’s all-time leading scorer after the Confederations Cup.
The 31-year-old has just one year remaining on his contract at the Camp Nou and Tottenham are hopeful of persuading Barcelona to reduce their £12m asking price.