Wolves 'interested' in £50m ace who could replace Neves at Molineux

Wolverhampton Wanderers are ‘interested’ in welcoming Portugal international Joao Palhinha to Molineux amid uncertainty over the long-term futures of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

Bruno Lage took charge of Wolves last June, replacing the departed Nuno Espirito Santo, and he will be given the opportunity to freshen up his squad when the window reopens in the summer.

What’s the latest news involving Palhinha?

According to The Athletic, Wolves are in the market to potentially recruit two central midfielders and Sporting midfielder Palhinha is one of the prominent names on Lage’s list of targets.

The report suggests Lage has informed chairman Jeff Shi and the Molineux recruitment team of the profile of players he wants to lure to the West Midlands as there is an acceptance that Neves may be sold if a suitable offer, which includes Champions League football, arrives and Moutinho is approaching the end of his contract.

According to the Mirror, Palhinha’s Sporting contract includes a release clause worth close to £50million, but his current employers will listen to offers upwards of £20million – with performance-based add-ons – amid additional interest from Manchester United.

Portuguese media outlet Record, via Sport Witness, claimed during the winter window that Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla have also been keeping tabs on the 26-year-old defensive midfielder.

Palhinha’s Sporting salary is £24,000-per-week, so offering a similar pay package would result in him being among the lowest earners at Wolves.

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What has Dean Jones said about Palhinha?

Jones understands that Palhinha is among Wolves’ targets heading into the upcoming summer transfer window.

The journalist believes head coach Lage has compiled a shortlist of potential reinforcements, with the Portuguese matching the criteria his fellow countryman is looking for.

Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “Wolves are interested in him. I think they’re looking at a few players of that kind of level.”

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Why is Palhinha of interest to Wolves?

Despite being a defensively-minded midfielder, Palhinha has shown that he can be a threat in the attacking third of the pitch by racking up three goals for Sporting this season.

The £23.4million-rated star’s form in his homeland’s capital has allowed Palhinha to work his way into the Portugal international side, with him taking his tally up to 12 caps last November.

Although he is yet to get his hands on any silverware when representing his country, Palhinha won the domestic double with Sporting last season and has followed that up with another brace of trophies this term.

There is no doubting that current club boss Ruben Amorim would prefer to keep Palhinha at Sporting as he has previously described the midfield machine as ‘special’.

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