Liverpool ‘serious’ about high-quality midfield upgrade as selling club prepares for huge profit; Man Utd also eyeing star

Alexis Mac Allister and Joao Palhinha Credit: Alamy
Alexis Mac Allister and Joao Palhinha Credit: Alamy

Liverpool and Manchester United look set to battle it out for the signing of Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha after a report detailed Jurgen Klopp’s interest in him.

Most of Liverpool’s attention will be on potential midfield signings in the build up to the summer transfer window. The area has needed strengthening for some time now and the end of the current season appears to be the best time.

Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both expected to leave Liverpool on free transfers after their contracts expire on June 30. James Milner’s deal at Anfield also expires this summer, though Klopp loves his versatility and experience and could therefore ask the club to offer him an extension.

Liverpool have been linked with as many as 46 midfielders in recent months as they cast their scouting network far and wide. But one option already shining in the Premier League is Palhinha.

The 27-year-old moved to the Premier League in July last year as Fulham signed him from Sporting Lisbon for £20million. Palhinha soon established himself as a regular starter under manager Marco Silva. He has so far made 28 appearances in all competitions, registering four goals.

As per WhoScored, Palhinha has made more tackles than any other Fulham player this season, averaging just over four per match. He is also the Cottagers’ second-highest rated player, behind talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic.

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Palhinha is proving himself to be hugely important for Fulham. One of the reasons why they have lost their last two matches – conceding six goals in total – is that the Portugal international has not been in the squad. He has had to serve a two-game suspension after picking up 10 yellow cards.

Luckily for Silva, Palhinha will be available for selection when Fulham play Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, and in their next league outing against Bournemouth on April 1.

Liverpool, Man Utd both want Prem ace

However, Fulham are at risk of losing the all-action midfielder after just one season. On Sunday, a report in The Sun claimed Manchester United are interested in capturing Palhinha. They believe he could be a great partner for Casemiro in the centre of the pitch.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle are all supposedly keeping tabs on his situation as well.

That report claimed Palhinha is now valued at £40m by Fulham. But the Daily Mail have provided their own information on him and instead claim he could cost £60m this summer.

A transfer at this amount would be triple what Fulham paid for Palhinha in summer 2022. And it is Liverpool who are pushing hardest to complete a deal.

It is claimed the Reds are ‘the most serious suitor’ for him. While Jude Bellingham is Liverpool’s top target, they like the fact Palhinha can be signed for half of the Dortmund star’s price.

It must be noted that Fulham believe they can keep the former Sporting ace for an extra year. They will try to convince him to stay by pointing to their success this campaign. They could still qualify for European competition as they occupy eighth spot currently.

However, it is clear Palhinha will soon take the next step in his career and join a major English team. Whether that happens this summer or next remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Monday’s Transfer Gossip includes Klopp identifying his ideal replacement for Roberto Firmino.

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