Wolves: Lage could now sign £22.5m long-term target at Molineux

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Bruno Lage taking charge of a Premier League game

Wolves could finally sign Sporting Lisbon star Joao Palhinha this summer, according to talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook.

The Midlands outfit have been chasing the £22.5m-rated ace for a number of years, but Crook reckons that Bruno Lage could finally get his man.

What’s the latest news involving Palhinha?

Wolves have been interested in the midfielder for almost three years, but with Ruben Neves possibly on his way out of Molineux this summer, their need for his services are arguably greater than ever.

GiveMeSport Transfer Verdict
GiveMeSport Transfer Verdict

According to The Sun, Wolves were ‘close’ to completing the signing of Palhinha earlier this month, although they now face competition from some of their Premier League rivals.

Tottenham have already been linked this window, while newly-promoted Fulham are hoping to mark their return to the top-flight by hijacking Palhinha’s deal to Molineux, with the Cottagers ready to make their own offer for his services.

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Despite Fulham’s attempts, Crook has been reliably informed by someone at Wolves that Palhinha remains very much on their radar.

What did Crook say about Palhinha?

He told GIVEMESPORT: “They get linked with Palhinha every summer and in the past it’s always been shot down, but when his name came up again, my contact close to the club was a bit warmer about it, so that is a goer this summer, where I don’t think it has been in the past.”

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How did Palhinha perform last season?

Sporting Lisbon were unable to defend their Portuguese league title, but it was another productive campaign for the 26-year-old.

In all competitions, the midfielder featured 37 times for Sporting, scoring three goals, and enjoyed his first regular taste of Champions League football, turning out six times as his team reached the knockout stages for the first time since 2008-2009.

According to WhoScored, Palhinha was only Sporting’s eighth-best player, although some of his individual numbers were impressive.

He comfortably averaged the most tackles made per game, with his three, miles ahead of the next best (1.8).

In terms of passing stats, he had a better success rate (87.8 per cent) than both Ruben Neves (84 per cent) and Joao Moutinho (86.7 per cent), although the Wolves pair complete more successful passes per game than the Sporting man.

But at 6 ft 3, Palhinha comfortably outperforms the Wolves duo in the air. He won 1.69 aerial duels per 90 minutes, far more than Neves (0.88) and Moutinho (0.55), who won 20 fewer combined than Palhinha managed on his own, highlighting what a threat he could prove in both boxes.

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