Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha was reportedly keen to join Manchester United before last Friday’s transfer deadline but ultimately missed out on a move away from Craven Cottage. The Red Devils instead opted to sign Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina as the ace put pen-to-paper on a loan deal.
Palhinha enjoyed a fine maiden season in England last time around after joining Fulham from Sporting and appeared in 35 Premier League games. Following his endeavours with the Cottagers, the 28-year-old piqued the interest of Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel, who attempted to take him to the Allianz Arena last week. But the move eventually broke down as the London side couldn’t find a replacement in time.
And, according to The Athletic, Palhinha also had admirers at Old Trafford. Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag was impressed with the player’s performances against United last season and may have pursued a deal if the club had managed to offload Scott McTominay to Bayern, who were also chasing the Scotland international.
Palhinha wanted to sign for the 13-time Premier League champions, but will now have to remain in west London until at least January, when the next transfer window opens. And in Amrabat, United have got their hands on a player who is a year younger than Palhinha.
“I’ve had to be patient for this moment but I’m someone who always listens to my heart,” Amrabat said after moving to Old Trafford. “I am a passionate player – I want to bring that energy to the squad and I will put everything into every action I take for the team.
“I know exactly how Erik ten Hag likes to work and what he needs from his players. His coaching and guidance developed me so much as a player earlier in my career. I know that he will help to bring out the best of my abilities so that I can help the group to be successful this season.”
Meanwhile, Palhinha’s brother and agent Goncalo has insisted that the Portugal international’s transfer to Bayern Munich will eventually go through. “They didn’t kill the dream, they just postponed it,” he said. “Very proud of my brother and the player I represent.
The agent also extolled the German side for their “respect, honesty and professionalism” and added: “Words of appreciation, recognition and thanks to the entire Bayern structure. The affection for the club in our family will remain forever even though my brother didn’t sign.”