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The Premier League outfit are willing to increase their initial €16 million bid for the 24-year-old, but no decision is expected from the player until after the Confederations Cup

By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro

Tottenham are favourites to sign Corinthians midfielder Paulinho and are ready to meet the £17 million buyout clause in the midfielder’s contract.

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, although the Serie A outfit are 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 the Sao Paulo-based club have not received any offers for their star man.

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Spurs are understood to have indicated that they are willing to pay around 16m 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.

Paulinho is not expected to make a final decision on his future until after Brazil’s involvement in the Confederations Cup, but Tottenham are considered clear favourites to sign the box-to-box midfielder, who has previously been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City.

The north London club are targeting the Brazilian market and have 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.

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.

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 triple-winning footballer of the year attracts interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

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