In a recent print edition, A Bola mentioned that Manchester City would have to pay €60m for Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha this summer. It is understood that Wolverhampton Wanderers are the latest club to join the race for the Portuguese midfield ace and could rival Man City if Pep Guardiola decides to reignite his interest in the player during this summer transfer period (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness).
Palhinha’s Decent Form In Portuguese Football Last Season
Palhinha had a solid campaign with Sporting recently as he managed to help them secure the Liga NOS title by producing a handful of dominant displays for them over the past 12 months. The 26-year-old made 38 appearances for the Portuguese giants last season, netting two goals and picking up nine yellow cards across all fronts.
The talented midfielder caught the eye by averaging 3.3 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 1.2 clearances, 1.2 shots and 0.7 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Portuguese first division. He even distributed the ball with conviction in the final third after making 83.4% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).
Palhinha proved himself to be a valuable member of Sporting’s midfield department. However, there are some concerns over whether he can make a smooth transition to life in Premier League football if Man City decide to launch a move to bring him to the Etihad Stadium this summer.
Should Man City Move In For Palhinha This Summer?
Palhinha is often quick to react to the danger and can time his challenges well to earn possession back for his side at the centre of the park. He has a good football IQ and doesn’t take too many risks when clearing the danger inside his half.
The six-time Portugal international is a good passer of the ball and can keep the ball moving quite well in midfield. However, he needs to add a few more goals and assists to his game if he wants to be a success story at a club like Man City.
Palhinha will add plenty of bite and steel to Guardiola’s midfield that might help the Mancunian outfit challenge for multiple trophies in the coming seasons. At 26, the Portuguese midfield enforcer is currently playing at his prime, so we can expect him to make an instant impact at the Etihad Stadium if Guardiola can get him on board this summer.
The six-time Portugal international will serve as an ideal long-term replacement for Fernandinho, who is in the last legs of his playing career. Therefore, the reigning Premier League champions should consider engineering a move to capture the services of Palhinha ahead of the new campaign.