As per Portuguese newspaper A Bola, cited by Sport Witness, Leicester City are considering making an offer for Sporting Lisbon’s defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha.
A youth product of Sporting Lisbon’s academy, Joao Palhinha, 25, enjoyed a two-year loan spell with SC Braga where he won the Taca da Liga last season. He made 76 appearances during his spell at the Braga Municipal Stadium, helping the club to a third-place finish in 2019/20 campaign.
The Portuguese midfielder returned to Sporting last summer and has since been a key figure for Ruben Amorim’s side, managing 17 appearances across all competitions so far. Palhinha was close to leaving for Russian giants CSKA Moscow at the start of the season but a move didn’t go through and he ended up staying with Sporting.
The 25-year-old’s impressive displays for Amorim’s side has skyrocketed his stock, with the player now reportedly having a €60m release clause.
Leicester flying this season
Leicester are enjoying another solid campaign under Brendan Rodgers, who guided the club to a fifth-place finish and a Europa League spot in 2019/20. At the halfway stage of the season, the Foxes are just two points off Manchester United at the top of the table and have lost just once in their last 11 games in all competitions.
Rodgers would be pleased with his team’s performances, most importantly with the away form that includes victories over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. With Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu returning from long injury layoffs and James Maddison hitting a purple patch of late, Leicester fans have every right to be excited.
Wilfred Ndidi needs support
Wilfred Ndidi is one of the most important players in the current Leicester side. The Nigerian international has improved leaps and bounds under the guidance of Rodgers, establishing himself as one of the first names on the team sheet.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Ndidi does the dirty work that allows the team’s creative players such as Youri Tielemans and James Maddison to express themselves freely in the final third. He has struggled with injuries in the last two seasons and without the 24-year-old’s presence in front of defence, the Foxes haven’t often been at their sublime best.
Nampalys Mendy and Hamza Choudhury are decent players in the position but if Leicester are to grow as a team under Rodgers and compete for trophies, they must continue adding quality players to the squad.
Joao Palhinha can boost Leicester’s midfield
This is where the Foxes’ interest in Palhinha makes sense. Palhinha has performed consistently in the Primeira Liga over the last couple of seasons and could be a solid addition for Rodgers’ side. Strong, tenacious and standing tall at 6ft 3in, the Portuguese is a cultured defensive midfielder who has the qualities to thrive in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League.
Palhinha is only 25 and has the majority of his best footballing years ahead of him. There are good chances that he can flourish under a shrewd tactician like Rodgers. It would allow Rodgers to rest Ndidi on some occasions or just see out games by throwing on Palhinha.
All in all, a move for the Sporting midfielder would certainly strengthen Leicester’s squad and can aid their chances in the title race.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.