Saturday, September 30, 2023

Barcelona Identify This Fulham Star 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, Sport mentioned that Barcelona have identified Fulham star Joao Palhinha as a target for the summer transfer window. It has been claimed that the Catalan giants could face competition in the form of Liverpool and Manchester United in the race to land the Portuguese midfielder this summer.

Palhinha’s Impressive Run Of Form At Craven Cottage

Palhinha enjoyed a solid campaign at the London club as he managed to put in a series of impressive performances at the heart of Marco Silva’s midfield. The Portuguese midfield ace was involved in 40 matches for the Cottagers last season, scoring four goals in the process across all fronts.

The 27-year-old has anchored the midfield with conviction by averaging 4.2 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per 90 minutes in Premier League football. He has even been accurate when distributing the ball from midfield after making 83% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

His current contract at Craven Cottage will run out in the summer of 2027. Thus, it won’t be easy for Barcelona to get a deal done for him ahead of the new campaign.

Joao Palhinha
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 03: Joao Palhinha of Fulham is challenged by Darwin Nunez of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield on May 03, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

What Will Palhinha Bring To Barcelona?

Palhinha is a tough-tackling midfielder who can time his challenges well to secure the ball back for his side at the centre of the park. He doesn’t mind clearing the danger when danger and can shoot the ball with venom from long range. The Portuguese talent is an accurate passer of the ball as well. He is primarily a defensive midfielder but can also function as a centre-back if his manager asks him to do so.

We can expect Palhinha to bring more bite and steel to Barcelona head coach Xavi’s midfield department as long as he can make a smooth transition to life in Spanish football. He would also serve as an ideal replacement for Sergio Busquets who has entered the twilight years of his playing career.

At 27, Palhinha is entering his prime and has what it takes to help the Catalan club challenge for a few major trophies over the next few years. Therefore, Barca would be wise to try everything they can to lure the 20-time Portugal international to the Nou Camp during this summer transfer period.

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