According to Record, as cited by Sport Witness, Tottenham Hotspur are eyeing a swoop for Joao Palhinha. They have contacted Sporting Lisbon regarding a potential transfer in the summer, although no serious talks have taken place. The Lilywhites are also set to face stiff competition from league rivals Everton as well as Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, who are ready to cough up €25 million for his services.
Who Is Joao Palhinha?
After coming back from a loan spell at SC Braga, Joao Palhinha has established himself as a key component in Sporting CP midfield. He notched up 32 appearances, helping the Lions secure the elusive Liga Primeira title.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Palhinha has turned a lot of heads with his all-round play. He is quite comfortable in possession, retaining the ball well and spraying passes all around the mark. Palhinha’s positional sense allows him to become the anchorman for Sporting, in the middle of the park.
However, what makes the midfielder such a sought-after prospect in the market is his robust nature. Standing at 1.90m, the Portuguese international is quite dominant in the air. He is also quite strong in one-on-one physical duels, with the midfielder notably attempting 4.4 tackles per game this past season.
In addition to his strength in duels, Palhinha is a proven ball-winner. Indeed, his work ethic, combined with an imposing figure, makes him nothing less than an absolute colossus in the middle of the park.
Is Palhinha A Good Option For Tottenham?
Joao Palhinha’s style of play is a lot similar to someone like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. It does pose the question that the Portuguese sensation may turn out to be tactically redundant unless the new coach implements a system where two defensive-minded midfielders can thrive alongside one another – a rare phenomenon in modern football.
However, it is fair to point out that Palhinha is much more than just a holding midfielder. He is, in many ways, a defender who is proficient in playing in the middle as opposed to occupying the central defensive role. It is also a reason why the 25-year-old can operate as a centre-back and even as a sweeper if required.
Although the Sporting Lisbon star is stylistically pretty same as Hojbjerg, it won’t be difficult for the new coach to accomodate these two in the same formation without worrying about lack of variety. Not to mention, Palhinha is a proper upgrade to the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks.
His presence in the middle may even allow Hojberjg to express a more attacking game, bringing out the inner N’Golo Kante in him. Palhinha, therefore, is indeed a viable option for Tottenham this summer.