Wolves may have limited money to spend this summer but there is still a realistic chance that they break their transfer record.
Spending vast sums of money is something Jeff Shi and Fosun haven’t been scared to do since investing in the football club.
They forked out £15m on the aforementioned Neves, a deal that provoked controversy throughout the English game due to Jorge Mendes’ influence at Molineux.
That being said, when Wolves have spent big sums, it’s usually paid off.
Providing they shift a few of their sellable assets, reinvesting the money in Joao Palhinha certainly makes sense.
They may have to part ways with €60m (£51m), though, in order to lure him to the Premier League.
Palhinha has proven to be a destructive ball-winning force for club and country over the last 12 months. He starred during Sporting Lisbon’s title-winning campaign in 2020/21 and then shone for Portugal at the European Championships.
The midfielder wasn’t an initial starter for the 2016 winners but he soon showcased exactly why he should be. In a piece of play against World Champions France, he provided a glimpse of what he’s all about.
Using his long levers, Palhinha won the ball from Kinglsey Coman before stealing it away from N’Golo Kante. The 26-year-old played a neat one-two with Diogo Jota and then nutmegged Paul Pogba with a wonderful solo run.
That summed up the Sporting brute in a nutshell. He can win the ball on a regular basis and then stride forward with immense power. Think of what Yaya Toure brought to Manchester City’s midfield and that’s what Bruno Lage could discover here.
The fee has the potential to be mighty but Palhinha looks like he’s worth every penny. He was described as having a “simply phenomenal” season last term by Portuguese football expert Marino Peixoto.
He possesses an exceptional passing range but it’s his defensive qualities that really stand out.
Palhinha produced a whopping 105 tackles at a rate of 3.3 per game in 2020/21. For context, only Wilfred Ndidi and Tyrick Mitchell produced more successful challenges per match in the Premier League last campaign. Meanwhile, only Luke Ayling (108) won a higher volume of tackles in the whole of the English top-flight.
Based on that evidence, the Portugal international would be well worth breaking the bank for.
In a window where they may lose Neves, landing a midfielder of his qualities and calibre would be a very smart idea.