Leicester City have reportedly renewed their interest in Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha as Brendan Rodgers looks to bolster his first-team squad.
What’s the story?
According to SportsLens (as reported by the Leicester Mercury), the 25-year-old has attracted the interest of several top teams across the continent after helping Sporting secure their first league title in 19 years.
The report claims that a £25.7 million price tag has been placed on Palhinha’s head, with fellow Premier League outfit Everton and Italian giants Napoli also interested in securing his signature.
Rodgers needs him
Leicester were first credited with an interest in the Portugal international back in January, although nothing materialised in the winter window.
However, with the 2020/21 campaign now complete, the Foxes may look to secure their man as they plan for another assault on the Champions League qualification spots.
The defensive-minded midfielder may not grab the headlines through goals or assists, finding the back of the net just once last term, but he’s very effective at breaking up opposition moves and kickstarting attacks of his own.
While Palhinha is certainly more comfortable operating in the middle of the park, his versatility has seen him deployed at centre-back on occasion throughout his career and that may be an asset that appeals to Rodgers.
Qualification for next term’s Europa League means the Foxes will have to fight on multiple fronts next season, meaning the addition of a talented utility player could prove to be extremely useful.
After the departures of Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs, Rodgers needs reinforcements, and Palhinha could provide competition for Wilfried Ndidi while providing cover at centre-half.
Whether the King Power Stadium outfit can justify or afford to spend such a figure on someone who would likely be a back-up player remains to be seen, but the current FA Cup holders need extra bodies and Palhinha is an exciting option.