Real Madrid could be set to unsettle Tottenham once again, with reports suggesting that the club have fixed their transfer sights on midfielder Paulinho.
According to reports cited by the Daily Express, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti - whose side currently sit third in La Liga following their 3-2 win over Valencia prior to Christmas - has identified the Brazilian as a target and is keen to mount a bid for the player in January.
Such a move would surely be considered as somewhat of a shock given that 25-year-old Paulinho, who has won 24 caps for his native Brazil and will surely form a vital part of Luiz Felipe Scolari's midfield ahead of next summer's World Cup, only joined Tottenham from Corinthians for a fee of approximately £17 million during the summer.
He has endured a somewhat inconsistent start to life at White Hart Lane, with the North London outfit experiencing a difficult start to the 2013/14 campaign that saw manager Andre Villas-Boas depart earlier this month.
The former Bragantino midfielder showcased his obvious quality during Tottenham's comfortable 3-0 victory over Stoke on Sunday, however, but sadly had his afternoon ended prematurely following a nasty challenge from Charlie Adam.
Given that Tottenham only acquired Paulinho during the summer, it seems somewhat unlikely that they would be willing to let him depart already.
However, Real Madrid are known as a particularly dominant force in the transfer market - something Spurs know quite well given the fact that they lost both Luka Modric and Gareth Bale to the La Liga giants during previous transfer windows.
Traditionally, Real are able to use their considerable financial muscle to entice supposedly inferior clubs into parting with their most prized assets and it will be intriguing to see if Tottenham are able to resist on this occasion.