AGONA Profile: Paulinho, AEK’s new Galo
Recently, AEK made an important addition to their squad, signing Portuguese right-back Paulinho from Chaves. The AGONA Profile takes a closer look at his career to date.
DIRECT REPLACEMENT FOR GALO
Following his transfer from Paços de Ferreira in 2015, Galo had been a key figure for AEK with his energy on the right flank, but his contract wasn’t extended this summer and the 32-year-old duly took his leave. Searching for a direct replacement, AEK immediately turned their attentions to Paulinho, penning a 2+1 contract with the Portuguese right-back after he had cancelled his existing deal with Chaves.
Paulinho, 27, will provide competition for Greek international Michalis Bakakis on the right side of defence.
PROGRESSION THROUGH PORTO RANKS, PROFESSIONAL DEBUT AT LEIXOES
Born in Porto District, Paulinho naturally joined the Portuguese giants as a child, subsequently progressing through the ranks at the Dragons between 2001 and 2009.
After leaving Porto, the right-back was snapped up by Leixoes in August 2009, where he went on to make his professional debut in the 2010/2011 campaign. Initially, Paulinho was kept in the reserves for the majority of the season, but he was given an opportunity in the concluding three games of the championship. Paulinho’s maiden appearance was in a 3:1 triumph over Freamunde on May 15, 2011.
Paulinho really began to make an impression in the 2011/2012 season. In stark comparison to the previous campaign, Paulinho was a first team regular for Leixoes, included in the starting line-up for 27 of 30 league games with his club finishing in sixth position.
TRANSFER TO THE TOP TIER
Having spotted potential in Paulinho in the second tier, Moreirense decided to take him to the Primeira Liga, signing him on a free transfer in July 2012.
At first, Paulinho had to be content with a place on the bench, but when he participated in his first match for Moreirense in the Primeira Liga, he registered two assists in a dramatic 2:2 draw against Lisbon giants Sporting at home.
Moreirense were relegated to the second division in that particular season, but instead of leaving in favour of a Primeira Liga club, Paulinho stayed and helped the team earn promotion in the following season. Paulinho also scored his first professional goal in that campaign.
SEVERAL TRANSFERS IN A SHORT SPACE OF TIME
Paulinho would eventually leave Moreirense after the 2014/2015 season reached its completion, opting to sign a contract with Uniao Madeira. However, he wouldn’t stay there long, spending one year at Uniao Madeira before moving across to Chaves.
During the first half of the 2016/2017 season, Paulinho caught the eye of several fellow Portuguese clubs with his solid performances, popping up with two assists as he started practically every match. In January 2017, SC Braga came calling, and Chaves duly agreed to sell Paulinho for a reported 350 thousand euros.
Unfortunately for Paulinho, it didn’t quite go to plan at Braga, and he rejoined Chaves in the ensuing off-season having only played in eight Primeira Liga matches for the former.
BACK ON TRACK AT CHAVES, PLAYING CHARACTERISTICS
Nevertheless, Paulinho didn’t need a lot of time to get his career back on track, once again taking a leading role for Chaves in defence.
Overall, in the next two combined seasons, the Portuguese defender gained four assists with Chaves in the Primeira Liga and convinced AEK to snap him up. Incidentally, this will be the first time when Paulinho has played abroad.
Although he has only scored two goals to date, Paulinho is certainly a defender who likes to support the attack, possessing the ability to give the opposing defence something to think about with his threatening runs on the wing. In short, he is the perfect replacement for Galo, who was equally as good at supporting the attacking line with his dangerous bursts forward.