Monday, October 2, 2023

Barcelona Identify This Fulham Midfielder As A Target: What Will He Bring To The Nou Camp?

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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 report, The Daily Mail claimed that Barcelona have identified Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha as a target. It has been mentioned that the Catalan club are eyeing a move to secure the services of the Portuguese midfield ace this summer.

Palhinha’s Decent Form In The Premier League Last Season

Palhinha enjoyed an impressive campaign at Craven Cottage as he put in a run of impressive performances for the Cottagers at the centre of the park. The 27-year-old found the back of the net on four occasions in 40 matches for Fulham last season across all competitions.

The Portuguese sensation has proven himself to be a reliable performer at the heart of Marco Silva’s midfield based on his average of 4.2 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per game in the Premier League. He has also been accurate when distributing the ball after completing 83% of his attempted passes in the top tier of Spanish football (stats via whoscored).

His current contract at the London club is set to run out in the summer of 2027. Therefore, it won’t be easy for Barca to recruit him on the cheap later this year.

Joao Palhinha
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 22: Joao Palhinha of Fulham celebrates following the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Leeds United at Craven Cottage on April 22, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

What Will Palhinha Bring To Barcelona?

Palhinha is a solid tackler of the ball and can make a few timely interceptions for his team in the middle of the park. He doesn’t mind clearing his lines when in danger of being caught out at the back and can strike the ball with power from long range.

The Portuguese sensation hardly gives away the ball cheaply and can even contribute by scoring the odd goal. He mainly functions as a holding midfielder but can also operate as a central midfielder if told to do so by his manager.

We can expect Palhinha to bring more bite and steel to Barcelona boss Xavi’s midfield. He would even serve as a good replacement for Sergio Busquets at the Catalan club.

At 27, Palhinha is about to enter his prime which makes him an excellent choice for Barca to pursue during this summer transfer period. However, he might take some time to settle into life at the Nou Camp if Xavi can successfully devise a way to snap him up ahead of the new campaign.

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