Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Leicester City Join Race For €30m-Rated Liga NOS Midfielder: What Will He Add To The Side?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent print edition, A Bola has mentioned that Leicester City have joined the race for €30m-rated Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha this summer. However, it is believed that the Foxes could face competition from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sevilla in pursuit of the Portuguese midfield enforcer in this off-season (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness).

Palhinha’s Growing Influence In Portuguese Football Last Season

The 25-year-old experienced a solid campaign at the José Alvalade Stadium as he produced a series of battling displays at the heart of the Sporting midfield. Palhinha participated in 38 matches for the Portuguese giants last season, netting two goals in the process across various competitions.

The Lisboa-born talent gave a good account of himself by averaging 3.3 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 1.2 clearances, 1.2 shots and 0.7 dribbles per game in the Liga NOS. He was even a tidy distributor of the ball, as evidenced by his pass success rate of 83.4% in the Portuguese top tier (stats via whoscored).

At 25, Palhinha is currently entering his prime, so we can expect him to make an instant impact at the King Power Stadium if the Foxes can find a way to bring him to the East Midlands during this summer transfer window. However, his current contract with Sporting expires in the summer of 2025, so Leicester will have no choice but to pay Sporting’s €30m asking price for the player.

Leicester City join the race for Palhinha who is seen in the picture
Joao Palhinha 26 – Portugal – FOOTBALL : Portugal vs France – Budapest – 23/06/2021 FedericoPestellini/Panoramic PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRAxITAxBEL

What Will The Portugal International Add To Brendan Rodgers’ Side?

Palhinha has got excellent defensive awareness and can time his tackles well to secure the ball back in midfield. He also doesn’t take too many chances with his clearances and is not shy of committing to the cause by putting his strong 1.90m frame on the line to block a goal-bound shot from the opposition. Palhinha is primarily a defensive midfielder but can also operate as a centre-half if needed.

The Portuguese sensation is good at disrupting the opposition’s flow in the game at the centre of the park but needs to work on being more creative with his passing in the opponent’s half. A midfield disruptor like Palhinha will be an excellent addition to Brendan Rodgers’ squad as he could offer some serious competition for Nampalys Mendy, Hamza Choudhury and Wilfred Ndidi, who was plagued by injuries last season.

We can also expect Palhinha to enhance the quality of Rodgers’ first XI by adding some bite and steel to their midfield. The Portuguese sensation could enjoy playing regular first-team football in the Premier League and has the potential to become a future star at the King Power if the Midlands side can get a deal over the line for him before the start of the new campaign.

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