Braga are preparing for life without Joao Palhinha amid claims that another Portuguese footballer is on his way to Wolverhampton Wanderers, according to A Bola.
With Nuno Espirito Santo’s high-flying side apparently in talks to make this £13 million ankle-biter their first signing of the summer (O Jogo), there is a very real chance that Wolves will have a midfield three made up entirely of Iberians sooner rather than later.
A tough-tackling terrier of a ball-winner, Palhinha looks like the perfect foil for the class and guile of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho.
No one in Wolves’ squad, including the ever-reliable Romain Saiss and the powerhouse Leandro Dendoncker, can match Palhinha’s impressive tally of 3.3 tackles per game.
And regardless of whether the 24-year-old ends up at Molineux this summer, Braga are already planning for a departure which looks increasingly inevitable.
Palhinha has been a big hit in The Quarry, helping a free-flowing Braga side challenge parent club Sporting Lisbon for a place in the top three this season.
It remains to be seen, however, where he has a role to play in the Portuguese capital – or whether Sporting will sell yet another promising youngster to England when his loan spell comes to an end.
President Federico Varandas rubbished claims that Wolves had reached an agreement to sign Palhinha recently, telling Canal 11 that the rumours were ‘completely false’.
And with Sporting expected to lose at least one deep-lying midfielder this summer, with Wendel and Rodrigo tipped to follow in Bruno Fernandes’s footsteps, the Lisbon giants might soon have a hole in their side that only Palhinha can fill.