Wolverhampton Wanderers will have to pay Joao Palhinha’s €60million (£51.2million) release clause to sign him from Sporting Lisbon, according to Portuguese newspaper Record (via Sport Witness).
Palhinha was called up to the Portugal squad for the European Championships and despite only playing 45 minutes in the group stage, he was handed a start in the Round of 16 clash with Belgium.
Portugal were beaten 1-0, but Palhinha was their highest-rated player with 95% passing accuracy and six tackles (via SofaScore).
The 26-year-old made 32 Liga NOS appearances for eventual champions Sporting last season, securing nine WhoScored man of the match awards – the most of any player in the division.
Wolves’ transfer record currently stands at £36million – the fee they paid to sign teenager Fabio Silva from FC Porto last season.
The report names Wolves, along with Nuno Espirito Santo’s new club Tottenham Hotspur, Spanish champions Atletico Madrid and Champions League participants Sevilla among Palhinha’s suitors.
However, Sporting are intent on keeping him and they have made it clear that they will simply direct any interested parties to the buy-out fee.
Sporting are of course well within their rights to refuse to negotiate, but from Wolves’ point of view you fear this could price them out of the deal. Champions League sides like Atletico and Sevilla are probably far more likely to meet those demands.
On the other hand, an influx of cash from the sale of Ruben Neves, for whom Wolves want £35million, could just about make the move feasible.
More generally, Palhinha could be an excellent replacement for Neves and yet another pleasingly ambitious addition. He’s a player more than good enough to be playing in European competition based on his showings this summer.
In other news, Atletico are also eyeing this Wolves ace.
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