Man Utd transfer: Romano drops ‘hijack’ verdict amid claims Red Devils are ‘interested’ in £60m star

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd transfer
Joao Palhinha is being linked with Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

According to reports, Manchester United are competing with Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona to sign Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha.

Fulham paid around £20m to sign Palhinha from Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon ahead of their return to the Premier League in 2022.

Palhinha to Man Utd?

The 28-year-old midfielder was one of the signings of the 2022/23 season in the Premier League as he helped Fulham to comfortably avoid relegation to the Championship.

His form did not go unnoticed as Bayern Munich pursued him during the 2023 summer transfer window, but Fulham refused to sanction his exit on deadline day as they were unable to sign a replacement.

The centre-midfielder did not let this deter him as he made 39 appearances for Fulham across all competitions this season as they secured another mid-table finish in the Premier League.

Fulham are expected to bid farewell to Palhinha this summer, though. Bayern Munich remain interested in the Portugal international, who has agreed personal terms. 

But Bayern Munich are not yet close to matching Fulham’s asking price and Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol suggests Man Utd and Barcelona are also “interested” in the experienced midfielder.

He said: “Fulham value Joao Palhinha at double £30m bid they have rejected from Bayern Munich. Barcelona and Man United also interested but Barcelona have financial issues and there’s uncertainty surrounding managerial situation at United. No release clause in Palhinha’s contract.”

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This report has since been refuted by transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, though. He insists Man Utd are ‘not really hijacking the Palhinha transfer’ as they are “waiting to resolve the manager situation”.

“I wanted to clarify something on Joao Palhinha because yesterday we had some reports in England about interest from Manchester United and Barcelona. However, at the moment, Man United are still waiting to resolve the manager situation before attacking any position for the market,” Romano said in his Daily Briefing column.

“Of course, United are still keeping an eye on the market, but they will not advance in any negotiations until they know who is going to be their coach. So at the moment Palhinha is not negotiating with Manchester United, we’ll have to wait and see what happens there with Erik ten Hag, or if they decide to go for a replacement.

“Palhinha was also linked with Barca, but with their Financial Fair Play situation at the moment, they can’t go there and spend €40-50m on the Fulham midfielder. So, interest is there, but in terms of a concrete story, Bayern Munich have an agreement with Palhinha on a contract – the wages, the project – and Palhinha wants to go to Bayern.

“Now, Bayern need to agree a fee with Fulham and they will push hard this week to try to reach an agreement as soon as possible. Fulham are obviously playing their game, but at the moment a hijack is not expected, with Bayern working hard on the Palhinha deal, and with new manager Vincent Kompany giving his green light to the board, so it’s on the Bayern board to make it happen. The negotiation with Fulham will continue, so let’s follow that, step by step.”

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