Three Players Who Could Replace Joao Palhinha at Fulham
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Three Players Who Could Replace Joao Palhinha at Fulham

12/06/24 11:24

As reported by Florian Plettenberg, who Football Park rates as a tier one reliable source, Joao Palhinha is seemingly set to join Bayern Munich this summer.

The Portuguese holding midfielder has been a key player for Fulham since signing from Sporting two years ago, and has made the most successful tackles in the Premier League in both years of his stint in South-West London.

It seems Palhinha has his heart set on joining Bayern, after his transfer to the Bavarians fell through last summer.

His departure will be devastating to Fulham, who will need to be smart in selecting his replacement this window if they want to continue to establish themselves in the Premier League.

So here are my picks for players who could potentially fill the void that Palhinha will leave behind.

Florentino Luis - Benfica

Florentino has been a long term target for the Cottagers, but they might have their hand forced in their pursuit of him if Palhinha leaves.

A compatriot of Palhinha, Luis plys his trade currently for Portuguese giants Benfica. The midfielder has previously been of interest to clubs of a higher stature than Fulham, like Liverpool and Barcelona.

However, this summer the only move for Florentino has been a £25.5 million bid from Everton. Given Luis’ eye-watering €120 million release clause, the offer was batted away by Benfica who are looking for a fairer price for the holding midfielder. Given Everton’s current issues with PSR, it’s likely they won’t return with a higher bid.

So Fulham would have a free run at the midfielder, who fits a similar profile to Palhinha. Florentino is known for his ball-winning and positional expertise. Given Fulham’s other midfield options of using Tom Cairney, Alex Iwobi or Sasa Lukic as a deep lying playmaker; or sometimes even Harrison Reed as a Mezzala, they will be keen to pick up another destroying midfielder. Florentino fits this profile excellently.

Where Florentino may not be as adept as an out-and-out defensive midfielder, is also what gives him a unique quality over Palhinha. Luis is also very capable on the ball, his intelligence and ability to drop deep and link defence to attack with incisive passes may actually take Fulham to another level in games they are looking to dominate.

Pablo Maia - Sao Paulo

Maia is a bit more of an unknown quantity, but this transfer would have a potentially huge pay-off.

The 22-year-old has recently received his first cap for the Brazilian national team, which he earned for his quality performances for Sao Paulo. These performances have also been the driving factor behind interest from Premier League sides like Arsenal, West Ham and Nottingham Forest.

While Palhinha likes to sit deep and stalk his prey before launching a challenge, often in Fulham’s defensive third, Maia prefers to meet his opponent further up the field. He’s often spotted charging forward to win the ball in the opponent’s half, which allows his side to quicker turn defence into attack. That being said, if he mistimes his charges, all of a sudden his side can find themselves overloaded in their midfield until Maia can recover. That being said, he’s smart enough in these situations that it’s rarely an issue.

Much like Palhinha, Maia is extremely strong which truly compliments his style of play. Not only that, but he also holds Palhinha’s ability to score from distance which sets the two of them apart from other player’s with their profile. I think he’d be a great replacement for Fulham’s key man, and could see Fulham taking an interest in him later on in the Window.

Andre Trindade - Fluminense

Back in Brazil, and back to long term targets for Fulham. Andre Trindade should be top of Fulham’s list this summer. They had a bid rejected for him last January, but it’s been widely reported that Fulham are back in for him this summer.

The midfielder is currently playing at Fluminense, where he came through the youth system, but I don’t think he’ll be in Brazil much longer.

To me, it seems Andre is a star in the making. I think he’s the future of the Brazil national team’s midfield, and clubs around Europe are starting to get that message too. Liverpool are long term admirers of Andre, who has agreed a verbal deal with Fluminense to leave the club this summer.

Andre broke through into the first team just a couple of years ago, and he immediately established himself as a key player. He had an unbelievable number of ball recoveries and interceptions, along with excellent passing accuracy and progression. He’s recently earned his first five caps for the national team too.

At the time he was constantly compared with two other Brazilian midfielders, Danilo (Now at Nottingham Forest) and Joao Gomes (Now at Wolves), yet Andre bested them in almost every key stat.

Despite being constantly complimented for his progressive passing and dribbling, Andre is more than adept defensively. He’s confident in one on one situations, and often comes out with the ball without having to go to ground, a testament to his excellent game reading.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Joe Southan

Football Writer

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