Leicester City have been dealt a blow in their bid to bring Joao Palhinha to the King Power Stadium this summer.
That’s according to a report by Portuguese media outlet A Bola (via Sport Witness), who claimed that, despite Sporting Lisbon previously being willing to consider an offer of €30m (£26m) for the defensive midfielder, they will now be demanding a figure closer to the player’s €60m (£51m) release clause in order to part with him this summer as a result of the 25-year-old’s performances with Portugal at Euro 2020.
The report added that, along with Leicester, a number of top-level clubs are also believed to be considering a move for the £16.2m-rated man in the summer transfer window, including the likes of Atalanta, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Napoli.
Considering just how impressive Palhinha was for Sporting last season, as well as playing a key role in the Portugal team this summer, reports that a deal to sign the 25-year-old now looks set to be twice as costly as at the beginning of the transfer window is sure to leave Brendan Rodgers fuming.
Indeed, over his 32 Liga NOS appearances for Ruben Amorim’s side last term, Palhinha averaged 1.5 interceptions, 3.3 tackles and 1.2 clearances and won an incredible 9.1 duels per game. The £9,100-per-week man also impressed in an attacking capacity for Sporting, scoring one goal, creating two big chances and averaging 0.4 key passes per league fixture.
Palhinha continued this fine form in Euro 2020 with Portugal, winning nine tackles and eight duels over his two appearances in the competition – against France and Belgium, no less – with his average SofaScore match rating of 7.35 ranking him as his country’s second-best performer in the tournament, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo.
As such, it would very much appear as if the 25-year-old would have made a fantastic addition to the Leicester midfield this summer, but with an astronomical fee now being required to release the player from Sporting’s grip, a move to the King Power Stadium would not appear to be a likely scenario. That is bound to leave Rodgers rather frustrated.