Former Tottenham Hotspur man Paulinho has opened up on his difficult spell in North London.

The Brazil international, who has featured heavily for his country at the World Cup, signed for Spurs in 2013 as part of a major revamp of the squad following the departure of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.

However, he failed to live up to expectations at Tottenham and was sold just two seasons later to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.

“For a footballer, not playing is like a fish not being in the water,” Paulinho wrote in The Players’ Tribune.

“I felt as though I were suffocating. For whatever reason, I was not in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.

“I didn’t fit his philosophy, I guess. But we never even had a disagreement.

“One day, I went to the club president and told him that if they got an offer close to what they paid for me, that I would like to move on.

“They were very professional about it.”

Paulinho has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, earning a move to Barcelona last summer and playing a key role for the Spanish side as they completed a domestic double in 2017-18.

The 29-year-old will hope to get his hands on more silverware this summer with his national team; he scored in Brazil’s final group win over Serbia to help set up a last-16 tie with Mexico.

While Tottenham fans may not remember his stint in the Premier League fondly, his recent form suggests that it was perhaps a case of the right player at the wrong time.

Spurs’ preparations for the new top-flight season will get into full swing once the World Cup is over and Pochettino’s men open the campaign with a potentially difficult trip to face Newcastle United.