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Wolves could land Sporting Lisbon scrapper and Euro 2020 star Joao Palhinha in a summer swap deal that would see Ruben Vinagre head in the other direction, as reported by A Bola. 

One year ago, Sporting accepted a £14 million bid from CSKA Moscow for a midfielder who had spent the entire previous season on loan at SC Braga. 

12 months on, don’t expect the reigning Portuguese champions to be quite so accommodating if Wolverhampton Wanderers firm up their interest in Portugal international Palhinha, who averaged more tackles per game (3.3) than any Premier League midfielder except Wilfred Ndidi last season.

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Since returning to the Estadio Jose Alvalade at the end of 2019/20, Palhinha has played like a man possessed, the super-strength glue that held together a Sporting side celebrating their first title triumph since the days when a blond-tipped Cristiano Ronaldo was hot-stepping his way on to the scene. 

Will Wolves add Palhinha to Bruno Lage’s squad?

Wolves have identified the 6ft 3in powerhouse as the ideal addition to their somewhat one-paced midfield, according to A Bola. 

Leicester City and Everton are big fans of Palhinha too (Record). 

Convincing Sporting to cash in on one of Europe’s most effective ball-winners will be easier said than done, of course.

But it’s not impossible. 

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It is believed Wolves may have an ace up their sleeve in the shape of a speedy little left-back who has fallen out of favour at Molineux, spending the past few months on loan at Olympiacos and Famalicao. 

Sporting would love to bring former Monaco youngster Vinagre back to Portugal on a full-time basis, potentially as a long-term successor to the much-admired Nuno Mendes.  

And their interest in Vinagre could play directly into Wolves’ hands as Bruno Lage and co look to fight off competition from Everton, Leicester and a host of Serie A clubs for Palhinha’s signature.  

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