Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Sporting Lisbon ace Joao Palhinha is the number one transfer target of a Wolverhampton Wanderers side looking to bring a new midfielder to the Premier League this summer, as reported by A Bola. 

Fear not Wolves supporters; Palhinha is no Ruben Neves replacement. 

While the club’s Portuguese play-maker continues to be linked with a big-money move to Arsenal, Palhinha is about as similar to Neves as Andy Carroll is to Michael Owen. Yes, they ply their trade in the same area of the pitch but that is where the similarities end. 

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The Lisbon-born enforcer is more a ball-winner than a ball-player; a man who loves nothing more than snapping into tackles and breaking up opposition attacks. 

It is no coincidence that Sporting celebrated their first league title in 20 years during Palhinha’s first season in the Estadio Jose Alvalade engine room.

Palhinha, the Primeira Liga’s answer to N’Golo Kante, averaged 3.3 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game during a wildly successive season in the Portuguese capital.

Could Wolves sign a man who would take Ruben Neves to the next level?

In fact, Palhinha looks every inch the perfect foil for Neves in Wolves’ midfield, someone capable of protecting the defence while giving his compatriot the freedom to influence things higher up the pitch. 

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Sporting are desperate to keep hold of their 6ft 3ins powerhouse.  

According to A Bola, however, bids in the region of £25 million will be considered, with Wolves making Palhinha their number one midfield target.  

New manager Bruno Lage will know the 25-year-old from his time in charge of Benfica, while Palhinha impressed against Wolves during a Europa League clash with Braga last season. 

The Black Country giants are also holding talks with a tough-tackling midfield general who took Spanish football by storm in 2020/21.

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