Everton and Leicester are in the mix for a midfielder instrumental in Sporting Lisbon’s title triumph, but face an uphill task to overtake a familiar foe who have an ace up their sleeve.
The increasing financial might of the Premier League has allowed clubs outside of the traditional top six to flex their muscles in the transfer market. Clubs like Everton have been able to poach players from Barcelona, while Leicester nabbed a superb midfielder from Monaco now linked with Man Utd and Liverpool.
Wolves too have had their fair share of successes, though their approach has mainly seen them hunt in Portugal.
The mid-table side have a well established connection with Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes. As a result, they have been afforded the opportunity to sign several of the country’s internationals including Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota.
Now, per Sport Witness (citing Correio da Manha), Wolves are seeking to bolster their Portuguese contingent once more. However, this time they may not get things all their own way with interest also emerging from Everton and Leicester.
They report that Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha is a target for the English trio.
The 25-year-old anchored the Sporting midfield to help break Porto and Benfica’s 18-year grip on Liga NOS last season.
Wolves are said to be ‘leading the race’, though the Toffees and Foxes have still ‘sounded out’ a move.
June 7 Transfer Chatter - Laporte to Barcelona, Wijnaldum deal cools and Aston Villa keen on Ward-Prowse
Barcelona want Aymeric Laporte but are refusing to offer Gini Wijnaldum an improved offer, while Aston Villa are set to make a move for James Ward-Prowse.
Palhinha is valued at €30m, though that figure could soon rise in a matter of weeks. Palhinha has acquired four international caps in 2021 and is expected to play a part in their Euro 2020 campaign. A slick showing on the grander stage will likely see his value increase.
Wolves are deemed the favourites at this point in time, thanks in part to a ‘trump card’ they can offer.
That comes in the form of a prospective deal for Ruben Vinagre.
The left-back has been on loan with Famalicao this season and is a target for Sporting. An agreement between the clubs over Vinagre could help facilitate Palhinha’s move in the opposite direction.
Ancelotti exit won’t affect Everton’s Italian job
Meanwhile, Everton reportedly remain in the box seat to sign Merih Demiral despite Carlo Ancelotti’s shock departure back to Real Madrid.
The Juventus defender was thought to be a target for Ancelotti after the Italian noticed the Turkey defender during his time in Italy.
In April it was claimed that Everton were ready to make their move for the centre-back. Liverpool and Tottenham have also been linked with the 23-year-old
According to TuttoJuve Spurs reignited their pursuit. However, the Corriere Dello Sport, via Sport Witness, insist Everton are “on pole” for the highly rated defender. And even the departure of Ancelotti back to Los Blancos has not dampened the talk in Italy.