According to transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano, Wolves are closing in on a deal worth €20m for Sporting midfielder Joao Palhinha.
The defensive midfielder was previously linked with moves to Manchester United and Tottenham but now looks set to be joining Bruno Lage at the Molineux.
Wolves are in talks with Sporting to sign João Palhinha as new midfielder. Negotiations ongoing as reported by @Record_Portugal, price tag €20m.
Discussions ongoing about payment terms, Bruno Lage wants João. Work in progress.
Wolves have already secured the signing of Hwang Hee-chan on a permanent deal with Palhinha set to follow. According to Correio da Manha, an agreement is set to have been reached over a €20million with another €5million in add-ons.
Palhinha has been with Sporting CP since the age of 17 and made his first-team debut in January 2017. He has played a total of 1872 minutes in the league this season, making 27 appearances and scoring thrice.
These 11 seconds prove that João Palhinha is the most complete footballer to ever play the game. pic.twitter.com/xEAo1fqWjy
— COPA90 (@Copa90) September 3, 2021
What will Joao Palhinha bring to the table at Wolves?
He has been touted as a replacement for wantaway key player Ruben Neves, who has been linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester United.
Palhinha, in the middle of the park, has enjoyed an 88% and 84% pass completion rate in the Primera Liga and the Champions League, respectively; this season past. The 26-year-old impressed in the EURO 2020, amassing 4.5 tackles per game and having a 92% pass completion.
Since the start of 2020/21, João Palhinha is the only player in Europe’s top five leagues, Primeira Liga and the Eredivisie with 100+ in the following metrics:
◉ 156 tackles made
◉ 124 aerial duels won
◉ 110 fouls won
◉ 105 fouls conceded
He clearly puts himself about. 💪 pic.twitter.com/joR6aflDcv
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 14, 2022
Palhinha is a much more tenacious midfielder in comparison to Neves and is also on par in terms of technical ability. As seen above, Palhinha has a similar profile to United’s midfielder, Nemanja Matic, in terms of his movement on the ball, as well as his defensive responsibilities.
Bruno Lage is a huge admirer of Palhinha and will be keen to add him to the squad to replace the outgoing Neves. Also, the Portuguese loves a player who breaks up and interrupts the opposition attack, especially if it is a bigger team they are coming up against.
This is one of the main reasons the West Midlands club are working hard in acquiring his services. Palhinha played a key role as Sporting CP lifted their 19th Primera Liga title in 202/21 and in doing so, ended their 19-year title drought after last winning it in 2002.
For a fee as low as €20million, Palhinha could prove to be the bargain deal of the summer.