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Wolves eye a summer swoop for 24-year-old Portuguese ace – A potential Moutinho successor?

Joao Palhinha in action for Braga
Joao Palhinha in action for Braga

Why Wolves should sign Portuguese midfield ace Joao Palhinha

According to a report from the Mirror, Wolves are eyeing a summer swoop for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha, who is currently on loan at Braga.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side faced the 24-year-old twice in the UEFA Europa League this term and have been left impressed. So much so that they want to sign him in the summer transfer window. (h/t Mirror)

Palhinha started out at the academy of SG Sacavenense, before making the switch to Sporting Lisbon in 2013. Having spent the first couple of years at the club with the U19s and the reserves, the midfielder spent the 2015/16 season on loan at Moreirense, before another short loan spell at Belenenses followed next term.

Wolves target Joao Palhinha joined Braga on loan in 2018
Joao Palhinha joined Braga on loan in 2018

In 2018, he signed for Braga on a two-year loan spell and has risen to prominence at the club. Till date, he has featured 67 times for his loan club, scoring six goals and assisting three more.

Wolves, meanwhile, have had another excellent campaign, following on from their brilliant 2018/19 season. At the time of the suspension of football, the Midlands outfit were sixth in the Premier League table – just five points below 4th-placed Chelsea. Furthermore, they are also alive and kicking in the UEFA Europa League.

While their performances this season have been impressive, Nuno & co. should focus on taking the next step and becoming genuine top-four contenders in the Premier League. For that to happen, they should further strengthen their squad and ensure they have enough quality and depth.

Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho in action. (Getty Images)
Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho in action (Getty Images)

Palhinha a long-term replacement for Joao Moutinho?

Midfield is one area where Nuno should look to bring in reinforcements this summer. In Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker, they have two talented young defensive midfielders. But Joao Moutinho, who is a regular in the first-team, will be 34 years old in September and will need a long-term replacement.

Having said that, Joao Palhinha would be a viable candidate to take over from the veteran Portuguese international.

The 24-year-old Palhinha has been very impressive during his loan stint at Braga. Despite being a defensive midfielder, he has chipped in with four goals and an assist in 35 matches this term. The midfielder played an important part in the club’s Portuguese League Cup triumph this season.

Joao Palhinha in action for Braga
Joao Palhinha in action for Braga

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The 24-year-old would add quality to the Wolves midfield. With more experience, he would be able to go on and replace Joao Moutinho in the long run. Furthermore, given the large contingent of Portuguese players at Wolves, Palhinha shouldn’t find adapting to his new surroundings much difficult either.

Verdict

Joao Palhinha has done well on loan at Braga in the past couple of seasons. With Wolves needing to replace Joao Moutinho in the first-team soon enough, the 24-year-old would be a good option for the club.

He has gained plenty of experience already and has done well in Europe as well. Hence, he would add further quality and depth to the squad, while also paving the way for increased competition for places. This would result in an improvement of the performances of the rest of the players as well.

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