Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

You can’t begrudge anyone for trying to make a little extra cash this year.

After all, professional football has never seen a financial crisis like this one and, to clubs such as Sacavenense, a well-timed windfall can make the world of difference.

So when one of their former players, Joao Palhinha, was heavily linked with a big-money move to Leeds United or Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer, Sacavenense owner Manuel do Carmo was “praying” to see the midfielder posing for photos at Elland Road or Molineux.

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Sporting valued Palhinha at £14 million – hardly a giant fee for a Premier League club – but one the likes of Sacavenense couldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams.

And, according to Do Carmo, the Lisbon-based outfit would have had their coffers boosted by almost £250,000 had Leeds or Wolves been willing to pay the £14m Sporting asked for thanks to a sell-on clause.

“We were praying for Joao Palhinha to be sold,” Do Carmo admits to O Jogo. “We are waiting for 1.75 per cent of a future transfer which, for us, could be a lot.

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“But I want him to be happy and it seems to me that he is happy.”

And why wouldn’t he be?

After shining on loan at Braga last season, finishing above his parent club in the Primeira Liga table, Palhinha returned to Sporting in the summer and has played a major role in their rise to the top of the standings.

A belligerent ball-winner who averages a remarkable 3.4 tackles per game, it’s no coincidence Sporting have conceded just four goals in seven games with him in the team.

Leeds made an enquiry in September, according to The Mirror (6.9.2020, page 68) while Wolves were close to agreeing a deal of their own earlier in the summer (O Jogo).

But with the ink still drying on a new contract, Palhinha isn’t going anywhere. Unfortunately for Sacavenense.

Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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