Liverpool told £60m target’s ‘head could be turned’ by transfer as Reds battle five teams for midfielder

Lewis Oldham
Liverpool-linked Palhinha

Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha could reportedly have his “head turned” if Liverpool pursue a move for the Premier League breakout star.

The Portugal international was one of the players who joined Fulham last summer ahead of their return to the Premier League. They paid around £20m to sign him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fulham have surpassed expectations this season as they have spent much of the campaign in the top half and Palhinha has been a sensation at Craven Cottage.

The 27-year-old has been one of the best midfielders in the Premier League this term and his performances have caught the attention of Fulham’s rivals.

Liverpool are in the market for new midfielders and they are among the clubs interested in him. Journalist Dean Jones thinks Palhinha will need to be “guaranteed games” in order for his “head to be turned”.

“Links with Palhinha began when Liverpool started to show a bit of interest and now the list of clubs linked to him is growing. I have spoken to contacts around Fulham about the threat of him leaving and they are relaxed,” Jones told Give Me Sport.

“There has been no contact so far for them to be concerned about and actually they seem confident he will stick around for next season. I guess that is going to depend on who actually comes forward with an offer though.

“He really is extremely good in the centre of midfield and if there’s a spot at a big club where he is guaranteed games then his head could be turned.

“I don’t think he would settle for being a squad player, not after the impact he has had in the Premier League so far. Also we should bear in mind that a lot of his success has been down to his relationship with Marco Silva and the trust that is put in him by the manager.

“He breaks up play and gets across the park as well as anyone I have seen in the league all season, so I do expect more speculation when we get to the summer. But if we are going to guess a price it is going to take for him to be bought I think we are looking at the £50-£60 million mark.”

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A separate report from Football Insider claims ‘Aston Villa have joined the race to sign Palhinha’.

‘Tottenham, Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are all interested’ in the 27-year-old but Villa are ‘confident that they can financially compete with the Premier League’s Big Six and match any offers put forward for him’. The report adds.

‘Unai Emery is understood to be a huge fan of Palhinha, and while central midfield isn’t necessarily a top priority for Villa this summer, the Spaniard sees the Fulham star as a direct upgrade to his starting XI.’

‘Villa owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris are keen to back Emery’s ambitious transfer plans in an attempt to help the club become regular challengers for the top six Premier League spots.’

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