Sporting Lisbon may be forced to “sacrifice” Joao Palhinha but Premier League trio Everton, Spurs and Wolves have yet to meet their demands for the tough-tackling Portugal international, as reported by O Jogo.
With just four weeks of the transfer window remaining, the Portuguese champions haven’t lost a single member of the squad that stormed to Primeira Liga glory in 2020/21, securing silverware after a 20-year barren spell.
But if you thought that was a good thing, think again.
According to O Jogo, Sporting have come to the realisation selling a star player or two is a necessary evil.
Even the riches of the Champions League won’t keep the financial wolf from the door.
And, with approaches for the likes of Jovane Cabral, Nuno Mendes and Matheus Nunes not forthcoming, Los Leoes may be forced to think the unthinkable and sell the man who holds their team together like military-grade glue.
Will Joao Palhinha leave Portugal for Spurs or Wolves?
Palhinha, a 6ft 4in mithril-tipped monster, averaged 3.3 tackles per game last season – no midfielder in the division made more – shielding the league’s best defence like a slab of Valyrian steel.
Therefore, the former Braga man could prove impossible to replace.
But if the likes of Tottenham, Everton, Leicester City or long-time admirers Wolverhampton Wanderers come calling with an offer in the region of £25 million, Sporting coach Ruben Amorim will need to plan for life without his ball-winning, bone-chewing bulldog.
Wolves, the report adds, have only offered about £18 million so far.
The report does mention Leeds United’s interest in a man who was linked heavily with a move to Elland Road in 2020 – although it’s uncertain whether Palhinha is still an active target for Victor Orta and Marcelo Bielsa.
What’s certain is Leeds will still be in the market for a tough-tackling midfielder as Jens Cajuste – Bielsa’s number one target – is closing in on a move to top-flight rivals Brentford.