Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Newcastle join Man Utd in midfielder battle, as deal touted for half of release clause

Joao Palhinha and Josh Cullen

Newcastle have joined Manchester United in the race for Joao Palhinha, who looks likely to leave Sporting CP in the summer, according to reports in Portugal.

Joao Palhinha has been linked with a Premier League transfer for a number of months. Last summer, he was regularly mentioned as a target for Tottenham. No transfer materialised, although the suggestion of a move in the future has not faded.

Man Utd were recently said to have started scouting Palhinha. The Red Devils need to reinforce their midfield after neglecting the position in the past couple of transfer windows.

As already reported elsewhere, Jornal De Noticias (via Sport Witness) have now confirmed Man Utd watched Palhinha for Sporting against Porto earlier this month. It was not the ideal audition, as their target was benched, booked and then sent off after a 40-man brawl.

Still, their interest in Palhinha remains. However, the same report reveals Newcastle are now also in contention for his signature.

After their Saudi-backed takeover, Newcastle signed five players in January, including one midfielder. Bruno Guimaraes could be joined by further reinforcements in his position in the coming months.

According to Jornal De Noticias, Newcastle were also present for the match between Sporting and Porto. They have been keeping tabs on Palhinha as well.

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Although he has a release clause of €60m, Sporting could cash in on the 26-year-old for a fee of around €30m in the summer. The Premier League seems to be the most likely destination, although there are several options within it.

Mendes to facilitate Joao Palhinha transfer?

Palhinha will have to weigh up which is the best, making any decision with the advice of his family after his association with his agent expired recently, as per Record.

Record also back up interest from Newcastle – as well as Spanish champions Atletico Madrid – and claim a summer move is likely for the Portugal international.

Joao Palhinha, Sporting Lisbon midfielder during the Liga Portugal Bwin match against CS Maritimo at Estadio Jose Alvalade

He will not be renewing his contract, although the fact it runs until 2026 puts Sporting under little, if any, pressure to sell.

But if he wants to fulfil any ambitions in the Premier League or La Liga, he could ask for help from Jorge Mendes to push through a deal.

In that event, Newcastle would be hoping to benefit, if they can compete with a club of Man Utd’s stature.

Newcastle plan midfielder talks

While they have the funds to be able to do so, Newcastle will not be completely overhauling their squad in the summer.

Several signings are likely to be on the agenda. But the club will also be working to keep some of their existing players – including in Palhinha’s position.

According to The Telegraph, Newcastle could discuss a new contract for long-serving midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.

His contract runs until 2023, so club officials want to finalise an extension before the start of next season.

Shelvey has only missed one league match since Howe’s arrival on November 8, with that down to injury. The Romford-born star hit the only goal in January’s away win at Leeds, and captained the Magpies against West Ham.

Eddie Howe views Shelvey as an integral player. Therefore, he wants to keep him around as the exciting Newcastle project gets underway.

But players with different qualities, like Joao Palhinha, could soon be complementing him.

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