The Blues are yet to make contact with Spurs over any deal for the Brazilian but they have identified the midfielder as a prime target ahead of the summer transfer window.
The 25-year-old is also attracting interest from abroad, particularly Italy, but would favour a move to Chelsea, where Jose Mourinho is believed to consider him as a potential long-term replacement for Frank Lampard.
Paulinho is valued for his tactical and goalscoring qualities but has struggled to settle at Spurs following his €21 million move to north London from Corinthians last summer as part of the club's spending spree.
Spurs would demand at least €24m to sell the box-to-box midfielder just a year after he arrived at White Hart Lane and his future could be determined by the identity of the club's new manager once Tim Sherwood's departure is confirmed at the end of the season.
The broker who brought Paulinho to Spurs has strong ties to Chelsea, having been involved in deals to take international team-mates Willian and Oscar to Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have made it known through third parties that they are preparing an offer for Paulinho after the World Cup and, while personal terms should be a formality, suggestions that a deal has already been agreed are wide of the mark.
Much could depend on how Paulinho performs at the World Cup, where is he expected to keep his place in Luis Felipe Scolari's first-choice starting line-up for the tournament hosts.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has a very frosty relationship with Chelsea chiefs. They fell out over the Blues' attempts to sign Luka Modric in 2011 and again last summer when Willian moved to Stamford Bridge despite completing a medical with Spurs.
Sources have told Goal that the members of the two boardrooms barely acknowledge each other when the two teams meet and Levy did not attend Chelsea's 4-0 home victory over Tottenham in March.
Paulinho has publicly admitted his frustration with his first season in the Premier League and is believed to have felt let down by Tottenham’s decision to sack Andre Villas-Boas in December and was also told that the club would keep Gareth Bale, who moved to Real Madrid in August for a world-record €100m fee.
He initially found himself out of the side under Sherwood, who was privately scathing about Paulinho's poor attitude in training after the managerial change.
The Brazilian is said to have "completely downed tools" by sources at the club and found himself out of the side as Sherwood felt that he could not trust him to follow instructions.
Paulinho said in April: "I understand the team rotation because that’s how it works here but I am not feeling well or comfortable. I want to be present. I want to play."
The Sao Paulo-born midfielder has made 36 appearances for Spurs in all competitions this season, scoring seven goals.