Okay, so first thing's first: Rusty, the red panda that absconded from Washington's National Zoo sometime last night, has been found safe and sound in the nearby Adams Morgan neighborhood. We can only assume he was looking to have a beer with McCauley and the rest of CFC's DC contingent, got lost, and fell asleep in a tree (Editor's note: He was found right by my regular after work bar and about a mile from the SB Nation office). That's probably how an evening out with those folks would have ended anyway, so all's well that ends well, as my grandfather likes to say.
My grandfather also said you should never trust the Daily Mail, but Gramps didn't count on the battiest of the mainstream papers getting a breaking, QUOTES INCLUDED (caps lock mine) article regarding one José Paulo Bezerra Maciel Júnior, nee Paulinho. How the Mail got to this story first is beyond us, but here we are.
Anyway, here's what the Mail says he says:
‘I feel I am ready to experience football at the highest level in Europe and the opportunity to play in England is a dream,' said the midfielder, who is set to become one of the Premier League's brightest stars.
‘It's a great pleasure to be linked to such a great club like Tottenham. ‘They have a reputation as one of the great clubs in England who play exciting, attacking football which suits my style.
‘I couldn't turn them down if they made it made me an offer. It would be a great pleasure to play for Tottenham.'
"Great pleasure." Twice he said it. That's the way to ingratiate yourself to a fan base. I mean, I'm blushing here. BLUSHING.
Now: this is, despite the appearance of actual damn quotes, the Daily Mail, so maybe temper your enthusiasm or dismay or whatever until a paper of greater repute confirms said quotes. We here at the ol' Carty Free Cappy (which is what we writers call the website amongst ourselves, FYI) take news from the Mail with a grain of salt. (Gramps can't have salt; gotta watch his cholesterol.) But it would take quite a bit of gall to fabricate quotes, and though the report last night from the Mirror's Darren Lewis that Chelsea were looking at Brazil's two starting deep-lying midfielders raised quite a few eyebrows/blood pressures, it's worth noting that most of that article is about Luis Gustavo, not Paulinho.
So, in summation: According to the Daily Mail, Paulinho will sign for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (pending medical) after the Confederations Cup. If the £17m mark quoted in the same article is accurate, he will also become Tottenham's club record signing, eclipsing the £16.5m paid to Dinamo Zagreb for Luka Modric in the summer of 2008, and will be the first signing of the Franco Baldini era. Whether or not the Paulinho transfer goes through seems more and more certain. Whether or not Rusty the Red Panda will reschedule his bender with CFC's DC faithful remains to be seen.
NOTE: Sam Wallace of the Independent has now also run an article with those quotes. Looking more legit!
ALSO NOTE: Sky Sports is now reporting the aforementioned quotes as well, with an additional caveat from Corinthians' director Duilio Monteiro Alves that Spurs' offer will not be fully discussed until after the Confederations Cup.