Wolves spearheading charge against Premier League rivals for Sporting star Joao Palhinha

Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha

Bruno Lage’s Wolves are reportedly leading the chase for sporting star Joao Palhinha with midfielder topping Lage’s priority list. 

Wolves is almost the home away from home for Portugal internationals, with a number of players, including the likes of Jose Sa, Ruben Nevesa and Joao Moutinho, all currently residing in the West Midlands.

According to Jornal de Notícias this summer will be no different as Palhinha is Lage’s top priority.

Palhinha has been linked with a whole host of Premier League teams recently but surprisingly, Wolves seem the most likely to sign him.

This comes after the report also states that fan-favourite Moutinho is very likely to leave the Molineux at the end of his current contract.

A deal had been written off, unless the sale of Neves occurred. But with the Moutinho news coming to light, a deal has became increasingly more likely.

Sporting are reportedly currently putting Palhinha’s price tag at around £25million. The deal could, however, rise to £34m if performance-based bonuses are included.

Although Wolves have now thrown their hat in the ring to sign the 26-year-old there are also other interested parties.

The report claims that both Tottenham and Manchester United are also vying for the transfer of Palhinha. Spurs may even be preparing their first official bid.

Why Palhinha is so sought after

The midfielder has really came into his stride this season at Sporting. He has appeared 47 times so far in all competitions and amassed an average rating of 6.96 according to WhoScored.

Palhinha has also been in amongst the goals scoring five so far throughout the campaign.

The Portugal international is commonly deployed as a defensive-midfielder, and his defensive contributions are crucial.

According to WhoScored, he has averaged 3.0 tackles per game, 1.0 blocks per game and 0.9 interceptions per game.

This ranks him among the best in the top flight of Portugal and showcases the stability he would add to any team.

How Palhinha would fit Wolves’ system

Lage commonly deploys a three at the back system with two defensive-minded midfielders.

Moutinho and Neves commonly form the spine of the team but if Moutinho leaves, their options are thin.

Leander Dendoncker has been used in defensive role on occasion, although he is better suited to attacking-midfield.

Romain Saiss can also play in the centre of the pitch but he is used in defence more often than not.

Wolves have a solid team in general,  although they severely lack depth outside their first-team squad.

Palhinha would be an exceptional acquisition for Wolves, especially if they have a European campaign next season.