It could have been so different for Brazilian midfielder Paulinho, who is now close to joining Barcelona for £22m, as Arsenal were interested in his services many years ago.

  • Arsenal were interested in signing Paulinho back in 2012
  • He went on to join Spurs, where he flopped
  • He’s rebuilt his reputation in China and could now join Barcelona

As if the transfer market couldn’t take a weirder twist, the ex-Spurs midfielder could end up in the engine room of one the best teams in the world. Barcelona are looking to sign the Guangzhou player for £22m, according to the Metro.

Arsenal were reportedly close to signing Paulinho from Corinthians way back in 2012 as a potential replacement for Alex Song, who would depart for Barcelona. A move never happened, and Paulinho went on to become one of the “Beatles” to join Spurs in 2013 for £17m.

He flopped at Spurs and was sold just two years later to Chinese team Guangzhou Evergrande. Since then, he’s rebuilt his career. He impressed enough in China to receive a recall to the Brazilian national team, and has become a reliable performer for them. Now it seems he could complete a rather circuitous route to Barcelona.

It’s hard to say how well he would have done at Arsenal, but perhaps he might have flourished with greater freedom in the Arsenal midfield. Meanwhile, Spurs may rue the fact that they failed to get anything out of a clearly talented player.