Football

Paulinho can emulate Chelsea legend

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The comparisons between Brazil international Paulinho and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard were made well before he signed on the dotted line for Tottenham this summer.

At the Confederations Cup, we all witnessed this stocky midfielder with a wide range of passing and that innate ability to arrive late in the box and score crucial goals. It was just like watching a younger Lampard - albeit a younger Lampard wearing the famous colours of Brazil.

On arrival in England, back in early July, Paulinho expressed his delight with the Lampard comparisons, while a month later his manager agreed that there were more than a few similarities between the two players.

"For Paulinho to have him as a reference is the best example that you can have," Andre Villas-Boas told OMNISPORT in August. "He is that type of midfielder – all-rounder with a smell for goal – and I think we will see him score this season for Tottenham."

The Portuguese coach is in a better position that most to judge whether the Paulinho-Lampard comparison is a fair one. He worked closely with the latter while coaching at Stamford Bridge, while it was his decision to pay £17m to Corinthians for Paulinho's services this summer.

Needless to say, it will take something special for Paulinho to replicate Lampard's phenomenal achievements. Few would have predicted that after signing from West Ham in 2001 he would go on to become Chelsea's all-time top scorer.

But on the evidence of his first 10 matches for Spurs, there's no doubt that Paulinho can become a regular goalscorer for the north London outfit.

He has already netted three times for the potential Premier League title contenders - and when you consider that he should have had at least one or two more to his name, one suspects that he will get himself in enough good positions over the course of the season to register at least 8-12 goals in all competitions.

And that's just for starters. Lampard only scored seven and eight goals, respectively, in his first two seasons at Chelsea before hitting double figures - and that was just for Premier League goals - in every campaign from 2003/04 to 2012/13.

Paulinho has mostly been used by Villas-Boas as part of a midfield two, alongside Mousa Dembele. But the Tottenham boss may consider the possibility of bringing the ex-Corinthians star's compatriot Sandro into the starting line-up - particularly after that humiliating 3-0 home defeat to West Ham - which could potentially allow the 25-year-old to push further forward more regularly during matches and grab himself even more goals.

As well as playing like Lampard, Paulinho also appears to possess the same professional mentality and hunger to improve as a footballer.

This will hold him in good stead over the forthcoming years - and even if he doesn't quite live up to the exceptionally high standards of Lampard, when we talk about Paulinho in the future we could well be talking about the Premier League's best ever import from Brazil.

Sorry, Juninho.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Brazil Football
Tottenham Hotspur

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