According to journalist Pete O’Rourke, Wolves could be looking to sign Joao Palhinha in the summer transfer window as a replacement for Ruben Neves, who has been linked with a move away from the Midlands side.
Wolves will need to continue to improve their squad under Bruno Lage after a horrible end to a great maiden season under the Portuguese manager which saw them fail to win in their last seven games, allowing them to slip from challenging for a European spot to praying for a top-ten finish.
Since the end of the season, their star man Neves has been linked with a summer move to numerous clubs including Manchester United and Arsenal, which means the Midlands team will need to work hard to replace the midfielder who has 24 goals and 12 assists for the club over his 212 appearances.
The latest rumours have the club looking at another Portuguese midfielder to replace Neves in Sporting Lisbon’s 26-year-old Palhinha, who according to O’Rourke will send out the right signals that the club want to improve.
He told GiveMeSport, “He could be an ideal replacement for Neves and will give out the right signal that Wolves are looking to strengthen their squad because there will be concerns for Wolves next season if they do lose their top players, such as Neves”.
TIF Thoughts on O’Rourke’s comments…
While replacing a player like Neves is always tough, bringing in Palhinha would be a great step in the right direction. At the age of 26, he has a lot of time left to develop and become custom to the level of the Premier League.
Will Palhinha be a good replacement for Neves?
He impressed this past season in the Primeira Liga as Sporting finished second, six points behind FC Porto. During the season he averaged three tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 0.9 clearances, 0.9 dribbles, one-shot, 1.3 aerial duels, and 2.4 long balls per game with 87.5% passing accuracy on 34.5 average passes per game, according to Whoscored. He also ranks in the 99th percentile for pressures and the 86th for tackles across the top leagues in Europe at his position (Fbref). He was also called ‘very good’ by Ruben Amorim.
Wolves could bring in a pretty penny for Neves, with rumours saying the price could rise as high as £70 million, meaning the purchase of £22.5m-rated Palhinha will leave them with enough money to address other areas of need as well.