Wolves transfer news: Bruno Lage identifies 'No.1 summer target' at Molineux

New Wolves manager Bruno Lage looking relaxed on the bench

Wolves want to sign Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha this summer, as reported by Football Insider.

What's the latest transfer news on Palhinha?

It is understood that the club's new manager Bruno Lage is a big fan of the Portuguese international, and has identified him as his no. 1 target for the current transfer window.

Wolves have reportedly made an approach for the 25-year-old, but it has been claimed that they will need to sell first in order to raise funds to push through a move for Palhinha.

What were Palhinha's stats in 2020/21?

Palhinha was a mainstay in Sporting's side this term, featuring in 32 of their 34 league matches.

The 6 foot 3 holding midfielder is a formidable presence in the air, and won 3 aerial duels per game in Portugal's top-flight in 2020/21 (via WhoScored). No Wolves player was able to match this figure.

He is also adept at breaking up play, as he made 105 tackles for Sporting across the course of the campaign - that's 19 more than any member of Wolves' squad managed.

With Palhinha in their ranks, Sporting lost just one game all season on their way to wrapping up their first league title in 19 years.

Have Wolves been interested in Palhinha before?

They have indeed.

In May 2020, it was reported by Portuguese outlet A Bola via Sport Witness that Wolves were close to pulling off a deal to sign Palhinha for a fee believed to be in the region of €15m (£12.9m). However, the move failed to materialise in the end.

Wolves will hope that they have better luck this time around in securing his signature.

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Could Palhinha solve a potential problem facing Lage?

One player who Wolves may look to move on this summer so that they can sign Palhinha is Ruben Neves. The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to Arsenal in recent weeks.

If Neves were to go elsewhere, this would leave Wolves' central midfield looking threadbare. Lage would be relying on the ageing legs of Joao Moutinho, who turns 35 in September, while also hoping that Morgan Gibbs-White and Owen Otasowie can push on - the pair are 21 and 20, respectively.

With this in mind, 26-year-old Leander Dendoncker would arguably be the only midfielder in his prime on Wolves' books. Yet by bringing in Palhinha, Lage could change this.

He would then have another player moving into his peak years, who is likely to be brimming with confidence after just winning the league in Portugal. 

While Palhinha is reportedly not seen as a direct replacement for Neves, he would add considerable class in the middle of the pitch for Wolves, and could ensure that the loss of Neves is not a major blow for the side moving forwards.

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