Reports suggest that midfielders will be in high demand during the upcoming summer transfer window, with Manchester United adding Fulham star Joao Palhinha to their list of potential targets. Palhinha has had an impressive first season in the Premier League, having played 24 times for Fulham and netting three goals. He has also helped the Cottagers secure their passage to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a wonderful long-range strike against Leeds. However, it is his defensive numbers that have really caught the eye, with no player completing more tackles than the 27-year-old’s 101 successful challenges, while he also has 33 interceptions.
According to The Sun, chief among Palhinha’s suitors is Manchester United, with manager Erik ten Hag keen to bring in a new midfielder this summer. Fulham would want to at least double their money if they sold the Portuguese enforcer after just one season, which means they would only entertain offers in excess of £40m. United will continue to monitor Palhinha until the end of the season, though they are conscious of the fact he has four years left on his contract with Fulham and will not come cheap.
Liverpool are perhaps the team most in need of a player like Palhinha, though for now their priority is the Fulham star’s Portuguese team-mate Matheus Nunes – who has impressed in fits and bursts for Wolves. Chelsea are also keen to add a new midfielder to their squad in the summer, though are more interested in Moises Caicedo despite the Ecuadorian signing a new contract with Brighton earlier this month.
Meanwhile, West Ham skipper Declan Rice is another long-time midfield target for Manchester United, but he is likely to command a British record transfer fee in excess of £100m. Table-topping Arsenal are currently the favourites to sign him, while United are unlikely to reignite a move for Frenkie de Jong after the Dutchman reiterated his commitment to Barcelona.
United are also aware of interest from other Premier League clubs, with Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all keeping tabs on Palhinha. However, Fulham pulled off something of a coup when Marco Silva managed to lure his compatriot to west London, and they are conscious that his superb displays are garnering a lot of attention.
It remains to be seen which club will ultimately sign Palhinha, but it is clear that midfielders will be in high demand during the upcoming summer transfer window.