Sporting Lisbon Star in One Step Away from Liga MX Switch

Toluca are in advanced talks to sign Sporting Lisbon striker Paulinho
Sporting CP v GD Chaves - Liga Portugal Betclic
Sporting CP v GD Chaves - Liga Portugal Betclic / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

The summer transfer window opened at the start of June and Liga MX is already attracting European stars for the upcoming Apertura season. Starting with Giōrgos Giakoumakīs' confirmed move to Cruz Azul and Óliver Torres' deal to Monterrey, the next big name is soon to be expected with Paulinho's move to Los Diablos Rojos.

João Paulo Dias Fernandes, otherwise known as Paulinho is a 31-year-old Portuguese striker who joined Sporting from SC Braga for €16 million in 2021.

Coming off an impressive campaign in the Primeira Liga, the striker netted 15 goals in 31 games. The former Portuguese international enjoyed his best season with the club, culminating in a league title victory in May.

Despite his record in the league, Victor Gyökeres was often considered the first choice by Rúben Amorim to lead the line. The Swedish international netted 29 goals in 33 games in the league and has attracted attention all across Europe this summer, with Sporting looking likely to revamp their attacking options for next season.

The fee expected from Toluca has not been confirmed, according to @luispadilla15 the reported fee is likely to be in the region of €10 million.

This move will enhance Toluca's attacking prowess. During the 2024 Clausura, Los Diablos Rojos were the highest-scoring team on their way to a third-placed finish with goals distributed evenly among players. Alexis Vega and Jean Meneses both clinched the top goalscorer title with six goals each, while regular penalty taker and goalkeeper Tiago Golpi followed closely behind with five goals for the season.

Paulinho will provide another option for his compatriot, manager Renato Paiva. Vega frequently led the line, although his skills are more suited to playing behind the striker. When Vega wasn't leading the attack, Edgar López stepped in but managed to score just once in his last 20 games for the club.

While talks are ongoing, a move appears highly likely, with a fee expected to be agreed upon between Sporting and Toluca. According to César Luis Merlo, Paulinho is interested in the opportunity to play in Mexico. The finalisation of smaller contract details is all that remains before the transfer can be completed.