Eyebrows were raised when Barcelona made one signing in particular last summer, and now his recent poor form has reportedly raised concern for Lionel Messi.
Given that the Catalan giants remain top of the La Liga table and are still in the hunt for Copa del Rey and Champions League glory, there surely isn’t too much for them to be worried about.
After a difficult stint at Tottenham followed by a move to China, the Brazilian midfielder’s move to Barcelona would understandably have been met with scepticism.
Particularly considering when the club splashed out €40m to sign him, as per BBC Sport, it seemed like a very risky decision as the 29-year-old hadn’t shown a great deal to suggest that he was capable of making that kind of step up in class.
To his credit, he bagged eight goals and two assists earlier in the season, but it wasn’t going to take much for the scrutiny to start up again as seen in the report above.
Diario Gol claim that Messi is concerned about how the Brazilian has been unable to have a similar impact since Luiz Suarez returned to form and Philippe Coutinho arrived at the club.
Paulinho’s last La Liga goal came on January 14, while he has failed to net in the Champions League this season and Barcelona may well need him to step up against Chelsea in the second leg at the Nou Camp after he missed a great opportunity in the first meeting.
Whether this is the real level that Paulinho can operate at and his early-season form was merely just a honeymoon period, or if it’s just a case of having to rediscover his best form, it seems the pressure is building on him both outside the club and within the dressing room, as per this report.