Chelsea will have the fortunate opportunity to take a close glimpse at transfer target and Brazilian international midfielder Paulinho as Corinthians match up against Al Ahly in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final.
With Oriol Romeu ruled out for the season after suffering an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus, the Blues are in desperate need of filling the defensive void in their midfield.
Paulinho, 24, was a core member of the 2011 Brazilian league winning Corinthians team who also lifted the Copa Libertadores last season.
The Brazilian played in Poland and Lithuania before returning home to Brazil, playing for Bragantino and moving onto Corinthians. His current performances have garnered admiration from many top European clubs and highly financed suitors including Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
Although the midfielder has admitted that he’s willing to stay on at Estádio do Pacaembu for another year, intensifying the competition for his potential transfer.
The current European champions are somewhat long time admirers of the player, and with a possible meeting in the final – assuming both teams win their semi-final match-ups – Chelsea might yet have a chance to see the player first-hand in Yokohama on Sunday.
Rafael Benitez is contracted until the summer but is still very much keen on making a mark at Stamford Bridge, hoping that some remnant of a legacy will continue to grown long after his departure.