As is always the case with potential transfers, you win some and you lose some. And by and large, Aston Villa had a superb summer in terms of the players they brought in, with Dean Smith’s side’s start to the new Premier League season propped up by some excellent performances from their new signings.
But one man who they did miss out on, was Braga striker Paulinho. Reports over the summer claimed that Villa were very much interested in luring the 28-year-old to English football, and that they could have got him at discount price too – although with the major caveat of the Midlands club opting to replace Smith with Bruno Lage, who had made the Portugal international a priority signing following his potential arrival.
And given the incredible work Smith has done at Villa Park, there’s no questioning that fans won’t be too upset that that situation failed to come to fruition. But for those who watched Braga’s thrilling Europa League clash against Leicester on Thursday night, there may have been a slight tinge of regret that they couldn’t sign Paulinho even without replacing their manager.
The striker scored in his side’s 3-3 draw with the Foxes, and proved to be a real menace playing the lone striker role. His ability to find space inside the box and fire away a shot was impressive, and he registered four total attempts on goal as he ran the Leicester defence ragged.
As per Sofascore, the 6 foot 2 machine made his presence felt winning four duels and earning his side four free-kicks too – in fact, he drew more fouls for Braga than the rest of his teammates combined.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers would no doubt have been thanking his lucky stars that his side came away with a point after Jamie Vardy scored a last-gasp equaliser.
Paulinho almost single-handedly dragged his side to victory, and Villa fans may see him as a case of ‘what if?’.