Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Leeds United Enquire About The Signing Of Portuguese Midfielder: A Shrewd Choice By Bielsa

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to A Bola, as cited by Sport Witness, Leeds United have enquired about signing Joao Palhinha. The Whites have expressed interest to sign the Sporting CP midfielder and have learned that they have to shell out €15 million for his services. Palhinha was courted by Wolves earlier this summer, but they are now hesitant in making a move, giving a major boost to Leeds.

Joao Palhinha: Player Profile

Despite being a part of the Sporting CP side since 2013, Joao Palhinha has never really been able to establish himself as a first-team player for the club. However, the midfielder has lately found immense success during his two-year loan spell at SC Braga.

Soon after his move to Braga in 2018, Palhinha became a critical player for the club, being a regular during the backend of the 2018/19 campaign. It was followed by an impressive 2019/20 season, becoming an ever-present figure in the midfield.

A defensive midfielder by trade, Palhinha has impressed the onlookers with his combative qualities in the middle of the park. He is a fierce tackler, who has honed the skill of winning back possession for his side. It is backed up by the fact that the 25-year-old attempted 4.4 tackles per game with a success rate of 68% last season.

Another key asset in Palhinha’s game is his ability to carry the ball across the middle third of the pitch. It is combined with a brilliant range of passing, making him an orchestrator in the middle of the park. Not to mention, the Portuguese midfielder can also play as a centre-back.

Leeds United have enquired about signing Joao Palhinha - A combative midfielder.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Joao Palhinha of Sporting Braga break free into space and shoots on goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg match between Rangers FC and Sporting Braga at Ibrox Stadium on February 20, 2020 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

How Does Palhinha Fit In at Leeds United?

Palhinha seems like an exciting option for Leeds United, primarily due to his versatility and aggression. His hard-working nature, meanwhile, makes him an ideal fit for Marcelo Bielsa’s footballing philosophy.

At Elland Road, Palhinha can be considered as an alternative for Kalvin Phillips. But Leeds should ideally use him as a potential upgrade over someone like Liam Cooper.

Indeed, a technically sound midfielder like Palhinho could thrive alongside someone like Robin Koch, thus adding another dimension to Leeds’ backline. Their collective versatility, meanwhile, could open up endless tactical possibilities for Bielsa.

However, the Whites, despite a busy transfer window, are yet to add any depth in their attacking department. Therefore, the newly-promoted Premier League outfit should primarily focus on signing an attacker like Rodrigo de Paul before they can pursue Palhinha.

It is also fair to point out that the Sporting CP midfielder lacks experience at the highest level of football, so one may argue that Barcelona’s Rafinha could be a better option.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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