Premier League • England

Blockbuster Arsenal move for Joao Palhinha confirmed as Fabrizio Romano rates transfer chances

Fulham star Joao Palhinha is a transfer target for Arsenal

Fulham star Joao Palhinha is a target for Arsenal

Arsenal interest in signing Joao Palhinha from Fulham in January has been confirmed by Fabrizio Romano – but he admits a deal to bring the player across London to Emirates Stadium will be far from easy.

The Portuguese star has proven himself one of the Premier League’s best midfielders since switching to Fulham from Sporting Lisbon in a bargain £20m fee in July 2022. Signing a five-year deal at Craven Cottage, Palhinha was instrumental in helping Marco Silva’s side seal an impressive 10th-placed finish upon their first season back among the elite.

Palhinha’s performances were that good that it was not long before some big-hitting clubs sat up and took notice of a player who was comfortably the most successful tackler in the Premier League last season.

To that end, the 28-year-old was strongly linked with moves to the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United over the summer months.

However, it was Bayern Munich who pushed the hardest for his signature, with Thomas Tuchel’s side agreeing a fee with the Cottagers and whisking the 24-times capped star out to Bavaria for deadline day talks and a medical.

Ultimately, though, Bayern were unable to push through the deal in time and the disappointed midfielder was forced to return to Craven Cottage and resume his career in London.

Thankfully, he did not let that frustration get him down and, as a reward for his first season, together with a show of faith into his abilities, Fulham rewarded the player with a significant payrise and on a deal until 2028 and with the option of a further year.

Nonetheless, the player’s future remains far from certain with a number of clubs still on his trail.

READ MORE Ranking the Premier League clubs by their net spend in 2023: Fulham 15th

Fabrizio Romano discusses Arsenal confidence of Palhinha transfer

To that end, Bayern Munich remain very much on his trail and our exclusive last month revealed the Cottagers will demand a huge fee if they are to part ways with the tigerish midfielder.

In recent days, the player has also been strongly linked with Arsenal as Mikel Arteta looks to bolster his midfield ranks.

The Gunners are open to the January sale of Mohamed Elneny, while Jorginho’s deal is also due to expire at the end of the season.

In addition, there continues to be lingering doubts over the future of Thomas Partey, with the Ghanaian suffering a loss of form and fitness this season.

As a result, it’s little surprise to see Arsenal making the addition of new midfielders their primary focus in the January window.

Now transfer expert Romano has confirmed what he has heard about the Gunners’ interest in signing the 21-goal midfielder.

“What I can confirm about Palhinha, this was around the media in recent days, is that there are also English clubs interested in Palhinha,” he told Kick.

“One of those clubs is Arsenal. It is true that Arsenal appreciate the player. There are some people at the club who consider Palhinha a very good player. It’s one of the players they discussed internally.

“There are two issues. The first one is the age, he’s not a super young player. I think next year he will be 29.

“Also, the price. Arsenal cannot spend that amount of money, something like £70-80m on one more midfielder after spending the big amount of money they invested on Declan Rice.”

Gunners may spend more modest sum on new midfielder

Speaking to Caught Offside, however, he insists the deal is one to keep an eye on.

“Joao Palhinha – Bayern remain interested in Joao but yes, there are also UK clubs in the race now it’s true.

“He’s very expensive and that’s why clubs like Arsenal believe the investment is not easy at all for the January window, but things will happen around Joao, for sure.”

In addition to Palhinha, Arsenal have also been heavily linked with Douglas Luiz, though Aston Villa have responded by requesting the third-largest fee in world football if they are to sell the Brazilian to Arsenal in January.

Instead, it appears far more likely that an Arsenal signing will be a little more on the modest side.

To that end, reports in Italy claim the Gunners are closing in on the signature of Royal Antwerp star Arthur Vermeeren.

The 18-year-old has caugh the eye with a string of impressive displays in the Champions League this season, having helped his side to the Jupiler Pro-League title earlier this year.

That form has alerted the likes of Barcelona and Juventus.

However, it is the Gunners who are seemingly favourites for his signature amid claims that Edu is poised to submit an opening €20m (£17.1m) bid for the teenager.

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