Why Leeds United should make a move for Joao Palhinha
According to A Bola (h/t Birmingham Live), Leeds United have joined the race to sign Sporting CP star Joao Palhinha ahead of the new campaign.
The report suggests that the Portuguese midfielder is valued at €15m by his club. However, Leeds could face competition to secure his services as Premier League rivals Wolves have been a long-term admirer of Palhinha.
Born in Portugal, Palhinha started his journey with Sacavenense before joining Sporting’s youth academy. Rising through the club’s youth ranks, he was sent on loan spells earlier in his career to improve with game time but he failed to cement his place in Sporting’s senior squad.
He was then sent on a two-year loan spell to Braga in August 2018 and he immediately established himself as a key figure of the squad. He was in sensational form last season as he helped Braga to a third-place finish in the league standings and also helped them lift the Portuguese League Cup title.
Palhinha has also represented Portugal at various youth levels from U18 to U20 and seems to be in the form of his life. And he is willing to move to the Premier League after turning down a chance to sign for CSKA Moscow, as per the report.
Palhinha could provide depth to Leeds’ midfield
Marcelo Bielsa has done a stellar job in their preparation for life in the Premier League as he has already made several new signings. However, one key area the manager should focus on strengthening is the midfield.
At the moment, Kalvin Phillips is the only recognized defensive midfielder in the squad. Ouasim Buoy and Conor Shaughnessy haven’t feature for the club so far. Moreover, they have just one more year left in their contracts with the Whites and don’t seem to have a future at Elland Road. And this could be a problem for the team.
Phillips has been a regular starter without a proper backup and his injury towards the end of the last season indicated the need for an additional defensive midfielder in the squad. Thus, they should consider signing one this summer.
Former Portuguese U20 international Palhinha has been consistent in the last couple of seasons and has gone from strength to strength. His inclusion to Bielsa’s squad would definitely provide them with some much-needed depth and he could also be a perfect backup to Phillips.
The 25-year-old also has Europa League experience under his belt and that could be a massive boost to the squad. He would also definitely bring healthy competition to Phillips and could fight for the defensive midfield spot.
- Why Leeds United should take a gamble on Barcelona’s Rafinha
- Why Leeds United should pounce on the chance to sign Fabian Delph
With limited options in the middle of the park, it is clear that Leeds are in need of defensive midfielders to support Phillips. And Palhinha, who has enjoyed two fine seasons with Braga, could bolster their midfield contingent. Thus, they should lure the 25-year-old to Elland Road at the earliest.