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Joao Palhinha: Nuno Santo eyeing his next Ruben Neves at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur transfer target Joao Palhinha continues to impress clubs across Europe, so sporting director Fabio Paratici and co may need to strike in January…

What’s the word?

According to Portuguese newspaper Record (via Sport Witness), the 26-year-old’s performances for club, Sporting Lisbon, and country, Portugal, have alerted teams in Europe’s top divisions, particularly in England.

It’s thought that there are several teams interested in securing Palhinha’s signature in January, though it remains to be seen how much the Primeira Liga champions would want, having requested €40m (£36m) in the summer.

Spurs were reportedly keen on signing the nine-cap international just a few months ago but were only prepared to pay half the price at €20m (£18m).

Would Palhinha be a good signing for Spurs?

Yes, get him!

Yes, get him!

No way!

No way!

Shades of Neves

Their interest should hardly come as a surprise with Nuno Santo at the helm as he was known for signing plenty of his fellow countryman during his time at Molineux.

In fact, the 47-year-old boss had his eyes on the 6 foot 3 midfielder whilst in charge of Wolves, so he’s certainly a player that he’d love to sign in north London.

And it’s easy to see why, as there are plenty of comparisons to be made to a similar type of player in Ruben Neves, who marshalled that Old Gold engine room frequently under Nuno.

The £18.9m-rated beast has been a standout performer for the Portuguese giants this campaign, ranking as their second-highest-rated player (7.40) thus far.

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He has proven to be a major influence at either end of the pitch, not only delivering two goals in eight league appearances but also averaging a squad-high 3.8 tackles, on top of 1.4 shots and 1.1 dribbles per game, via WhoScored.

By comparison, in the two Premier League campaigns before this one, Neves averaged at least 2.1 tackles and 1.6 shots per game, and found the net five times alone in 2020/21, which only goes to show the two players are in the same sort of mould.

It is why Nuno was originally eyeing Palhinha up as a direct replacement for this fellow Portugal international.

Described as a “special player” by current Sporting boss Ruben Amorim to MaisFutebol (via Manchester News Today) and “phenomenal” by Portuguese football expert Marino Peixoto, Palhinha would be an astute addition to Spurs’ current midfield.

However, they will need to act fast as he continues to impress teams across Europe. Paratici could well secure Nuno another Neves this winter.

AND in other news, “Matter of time”: Gold drops big claim on “underrated” Spurs gem, fans will be buzzing…

Article title: Joao Palhinha: Nuno Santo eyeing his next Ruben Neves at Spurs

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