Wolves are reportedly ‘closer’ to signing Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha, with the Portuguese maestro heavily linked with a move to Molineux over recent weeks.
Palhinha is set to leave the Portuguese giants, with Molineux his most likely destination, having gone through the youth ranks at the Lisbon club.
Lage is certainly in the market for a midfielder this summer, particularly with the possible departure of Ruben Neves, and his compatriot could well become the latest name on a long list of Portuguese talent to have played for Wolves in the Premier League.
It looks increasingly likely that Neves will move on to bigger things this summer, whilst Joao Moutinho still hasn’t signed a contract extension at Molineux even though the 35-year-old’s current deal is set to expire at the end of June.
Even if the veteran midfielder is to extend his stay in the West Midlands, he isn’t a long-term solution, with him turning 36 in September.
Therefore, adding Palhinha to his ranks would be crucial for Lage, who will be keen to learn from the mistakes in his first season as a Premier League manager, as a woeful end to the season prevented the Black Country outfit from securing European football.
Valued at £23.4m by Transfermarkt, the Portuguese midfielder – who was dubbed a “special player” by his manager Ruben Amorim – made 38 appearances in all competitions for Sporting this term, with his side finishing runners up to Porto in the Primeira Liga.
That included six appearances in the Champions League, with the 26-year-old playing the full 90 minutes of their 5-0 first leg defeat to Wolves’ Premier League rivals Manchester City in the round of 16.
With an 88% passing accuracy and an average of 53.4 touches per match in the Portuguese top flight this term, it appears as though Palhinha is ready for a move to the Premier League, and what better destination in England right now for an exciting Portuguese talent than Molineux?
Although the completion of a deal would almost certainly prelude the exit of Neves, Wolves fans should be excited about the prospective addition of a quality midfielder with plenty of top-level experience and approaching the prime of his career.