Chelsea are ready to make a summer approach for Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha over a potential move to Stamford Bridge, according to reports in the last 48 hours.
What’s the latest on Palhinha to Chelsea?
The Portugal international first arrived in the Premier League back in July 2022 from Sporting CP when he put pen to paper on a five-year contract at Craven Cottage, and during his 34 appearances to date, he’s hugely impressed, having already become Marco Silva’ best-performing defensive player and third overall with a match rating of 6.94.
The Whites talisman’s contract isn’t set to expire for another four years considering that he only joined last year, but his eye-catching outings have already grabbed the attention of Todd Boehly, who is working behind-the-scenes to secure new signings for whoever will take over from Frank Lampard, which, at this stage, is likely to be Mauricio Pochettino.
The Sun first credited the Blues with an initial interest in the 27-year-old in March alongside top-flight rivals Newcastle United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, and it sounds like the latter two are the clubs set to ramp up their interest with the hierarchy at Stamford Bridge.
According to Football Insider, Chelsea, Spurs and the Red Devils are “ready to swoop” to secure the services of Palhinha ahead of the 2023/24 campaign. The Premier League trio are all expected to “launch moves” for the midfielder during the upcoming window, and it’s stated that Fulham are “aware” of the increasing interest and are “braced” to receive offers as the summer nears closer.
Where would Palhinha fit in at Chelsea?
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante will be out of contract at the end of the season and shock reports have recently emerged that he could be following in the footsteps of Jorginho and making the move to Arsenal, so should he depart, Palhinha would be the perfect long-term replacement, having been lauded an “artist” by journalist Josh Bunting.
The Cottagers star, who currently pockets £50k-per-week, is naturally a defensive midfielder and ranks in the 99th percentile for tackles having won 66 from 119 players challenged so far this season, which is higher than any other member of his squad, as per FBRef.
The Lisbon native, who is also capable of operating at centre-back, would additionally provide a threat going forward having found the back of the net on four occasions since the start of the current term, not to mention that he won the Midfielder of the Year award at Sporting, so the fact that he’s getting individually recognised for the positive impact he makes will certainly stand out to Boehly.
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