Wolves won’t have a great deal of money to spend this summer. It’s an unfortunate eventuality but ultimately one which cost Nuno Santo his job in the Midlands.
It would appear that the only way to spend big this summer will be to sell some of their prized assets.
One player who has been on the radar of the Old Gold for a while now is Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha. They’ve been interested in the 25-year-old since last year but, despite winning Liga NOS with Sporting this term, he could be heading for the exit door.
Palhinha may not possess the long-range shooting of Ruben Neves, but he’d be a stellar replacement for the 24-year-old in the middle of the park.
The Wolves midfielder looks likely to leave this summer, with the Old Gold needing to sell before they can spend this summer. The Athletic claimed that a fee of £35m will be enough to tempt the Molineux hierarchy into selling the Portugal international.
If Neves does move on, it would be a huge blow. He has been the glue holding Wolves together for a number of years now, thriving in English football after becoming the most expensive signing in Championship history.
Wonderfully composed in possession of the ball, Palhinha is also a tough-tackling general in the middle of the park.
Those are two attributes synonymous with Neves. During this season, the 24-year-old completed 84.4% of his passes and registered 2.4 tackles per match.
Comparing those numbers to Palhinha, the Sporting stalwart was successful with just over 83% of his passes in Portugal, winning 3.3 tackles per game.
Neves is more productive in the final third but, if the club’s new manager requires someone who can win the ball back on a more regular basis, then Palhinha is their man.
Standing at 6 foot 3, the £35m midfielder’s game is well suited to the Premier League. His physical qualities are outstanding, bullying opponents to one side and then starting attacks.
The Portugal international’s 1.3 shots per game indicate he can also still get forward, which is important when considering how he can replace Neves.
A destructive force, Palhinha would come at a high cost. However, if they are going to lose one of their best players from the Nuno era, they will have to spend.