Manchester United look set to miss out on the signing of Sporting midfielder Joao Palhinha, who is closing in on a move to Wolves in advance of next season, according to reports. The Red Devils are said to be in the market for a new deep-lying midfield maestro this summer as Erik ten Hag looks to rebuild his playing squad before the on-pitch action gets back underway.
United have been tentatively linked with a potential move for Palhinha over the last few months, with the 26-year-old having played a crucial role in Sporting’s impressive Primeira League title win two seasons ago. However, the Red Devils will be forced to stand by and watch Palhinha join another Premier League club in Wolves, according to Portuguese daily Correio do Manha.
It is claimed that Wolves are thrashing out the finer details regarding a move for Palhinha, with talks having progressed into the final stages over the last few days. The west Midlands outfit are expected to pay a fee in the region of £17million for the midfielder, who registered 38 appearances in all competitions for Sporting last season.
Palhinha is thought to have been a long-term target for Wolves, with the Portugal international having already been mentioned in connection with a move to Molineux for around a year. It remains to be seen whether he will serve as the club’s eventual replacement for Ruben Neves, who is reportedly being lined up for a move to Barcelona over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, it seems as though United will be forced to chase their other targets in order to reinforce their midfield ranks before the start of the new campaign. They are said to have opened talks with Barcelona with a view to signing Frenkie de Jong but there are still questions over whether a price can be agreed at club level in the not-too-distant future.
The likes of Neves, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham have also been linked with the Red Devils in recent months, while Youri Tielemans could also be on the move after rejecting the offer of a new contract at Leicester City. Former England goalkeeper David James recently urged United to challenge Manchester City for the signing of Kalvin Phillips, who has been widely tipped to leave Leeds United in search of a new club this summer.
“With Ten Hag in charge, there’s going to be a different approach to the way Manchester United play,” James told The Mirror when quizzed on Phillips’ suitability for the 13-time Premier League champions.
“Looking at Manchester United’s midfield from this season, it definitely needed an improvement. Not that the players who were already there weren’t capable, but for one reason or another they’re not going to improve that performance from last season and Kalvin Phillips would be a great fit.”
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