Spurs have just paid £17m for a defensive midfield player, and have completed also a £26m club-record signing of striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia. What impact is expected from Paulinho and Soldado at White Hart Lane? Paulinho can bring to the side something that Scott Parker or Tom Huddlestone or Sandro and Dembele didn’t. Parker and Huddlestone in particular are far from perfect for the midfield Andre Villas-Boas is building, lacking of skills needed to be part of Portuguese’s formation. In the Confederations Cup, Felipe Scolari utilized Paulinho as box to box midfielder in a midfield lined up with a double pivot containing Paulinho and a distributor, Luiz Gustavo, who sat deep allowing Paulinho to get space up front. Paulinho is strong defensively while maintaining an offensive threat that neither Parker or Huddlestone can do. But with Paulinho's arrival, Spurs can be lined up in the 4-3-3 way that achieved success with Villas-Boas's Porto side. Villas-Boas favourites a 'vertical' style of play with quick circulation and transition. With 24 league goals last season, Soldado is in the mix with Edinson Cavani, Falcao, Alvaro Negredo, and Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski between the major leagues’ goal scoring available players during this summer. He could be the front man was lacking at Tottenham since the arrival of Villas-Boas. To support Soldado, Villas-Boas needs of a midfield trio that didn't hold onto possession but that be able to transfer the ball forward as quick as possible. The 4-3-3 system at Porto was built around Fernando moving forward despite being a holding midfielder, and switching spot with Freddy Guarin who usually drop deep if Fernando advanced and with Joao Moutinho acting like a classic box to box midfielder. Villas Boas tried to reply this midfield rotation at Chelsea but it didn’t work as the same manager admitted:
“Our No 6 [at Porto, usually Fernando] sometimes became a more attacking midfielder and we tried to do that here [at Chelsea]. We decided it doesn’t work here, so that’s one of the things I have adapted. You lose a little bit of balance in the Premier League if you play that way. Transitions here are much more direct, making the importance of the No 6 to stay in position most decisive.”
The midfield rotation creates a mobile midfield, and allows team to make free a midfielder in the build up if opponents are chasing the deep-lying midfielder. With the Spurs, Villas-Boas has in Moussa Dembele a typical box to box midfielder while Sandro could be the intelligent player able to rotate with Paulinho. Add that Villas-Boas can rely on Gylfi Sigurdsson too, good on distributing and that could adapt his game to a more deep role. That said, the Brazilian could be a key part of triangle midfield that Villas-Boas is looking for.