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Sporting Lisbon will find it ‘difficult to replace’ Joao Palhinha and Matheus Nunes if the midfield duo move to the Premier League with Fulham and Wolves, former Leoes ace Andre Santos tells Bola Branca. 

While there will inevitably be some doubts about whether Palhinha and Nunes can make an immediate impact in English football, it must be said that sone of the Premier League’s most inspired signings in recent years have arrived from the Iberian Peninsula. 

Ruben Dias, Luis Diaz and Bruno Fernandes; If Palhinha can emulate their impact at Fulham, then perhaps the Cottagers can make a better fist of top-flight survival this time around. 

STRANGEST Contracts In Football | Anti-Arsenal And Nightclub Clause?!

STRANGEST Contracts In Football | Anti-Arsenal And Nightclub Clause?!

Fulham will reportedly land Palhinha on a four-year deal worth £40,000-a-week. One of Europe’s most effective defensive midfielders, the Portugal international will set Marco Silva’s side back a cool £18 million. 

Nunes, a more adventurous, box-to-box player, could follow in Palhinha’s footsteps. The Mail believe that Wolverhampton Wanderers are in talks, with a potential £40 million offer in the pipeline. 

Fulham and Wolves hope to raid Sporting Lisbon

“Matheus and Palhinha are two great players, champions at Sporting and two difficult pieces to replace,” Santos says of two players who helped the Lisbon Lions win their first Primeira Liga title in 20 years back in 2021. 

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“But (coach) Ruben Amorim was preparing Manuel Ugarte last season, and the player responded and was at a good level. Sporting will find a good solution in case the two leave.  

“In the squad, there are quality players who can also form a good midfield. Ruben Amorim is a great coach and will find the best solutions.” 

It remains to be seen whether Nunes – dubbed ‘one of the best players in the world’ by none other than Pep Guardiola – would relish the prospect of joining an Iberian-influenced dressing room at Molineux. 

Nunes is rumoured to be prioritising a club capable of offering Champions League football. Then again, as Santos points out, the allure of England may be difficult to resist. 

“Everyone dreams of playing in the Premier League,” Santos adds. “The league has a lot of visibility, the stadiums are always full. It’s a completely different reality from the Portuguese League, where clubs need to make sales and can’t keep their best players.” 

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