Man Utd told to avoid ‘ridiculous’ Bellingham, Rice ‘fight’ as pundit ‘prefers’ £19m midfielder

Jason Soutar
Jude Bellingham and Joao Palhinha

Paul Parker thinks Manchester United should pursue Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha over England pair Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice.

Bellingham is one of the most sought-after players in world football with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City battling to sign him from Borussia Dortmund.

A move this summer seems likely, though it would not be too much of a surprise to see the 19-year-old stay in Germany.

Rice, on the other hand, is expected to leave West Ham at the end of the season with his contract set to expire in 2024.

Arsenal are leading the race to sign Rice, but have competition from Chelsea and Liverpool.

READ: Arthur, Auba, Antony: Every Premier League club’s worst signing of the season

It promises to be a hectic summer window full of midfielders on the move, and one player being thrown in the mix is Palhinha.

The Portuguese defensive midfielder was linked with a host of Premier League sides – including United and Tottenham – before Fulham signed him for a measly £19million with little competition for his signature.

Palhinha’s performances this season have been spectacular, showing why he was linked with United and co. but leaving everyone confused about the lack of legitimate transfer interest before he left Sporting for the Cottagers.

The 27-year-old is a different type of player to Bellingham and Rice, who are both box-to-box midfielders, though the latter can play as a No. 6, which is where Palhinha has excelled in the Premier League.

It would be typical for a club like United or Spurs to fork out over £60m on Palhinha when he was available for less than a third of that amount last year, but that is what Parker wants the Red Devils to do.

The ex-United defender thinks Erik ten Hag should sign the Portuguese international – who “would be amazing” at Old Trafford.

This is despite the fact Casemiro joined the club last summer and Palhinha would likely play second fiddle to the Brazilian superstar.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes I want Palhinha at Man United,” Parker told MyBettingSites. “He is good.

“He is Fulham’s best signing in ages and he would be amazing at Man United.

“He has been consistent all season. He has so many qualities and he could even have played football back in the ’80s and ’90s and that says everything about how versatile he is.

“He is physical, he is a clean tackler, he distributes very well and he goes up and down as well. He is an all-round player but he is not an all-round average Joe he is all round amazing.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, he would improve Man United’s team; that’s for sure.

“I keep praising him but his presence is amazing and he has the same presence at Fulham as Casemiro does at Man United.

“Look at how Fulham performed without him when he was suspended. They were poor because they missed him and his presence.”

Surprisingly, Parker has claimed that Palhinha should be a priority for United over Bellingham and Rice.

“I would even prefer him over Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham,” he added. “Their price tag is absolutely mad because they are English.

“I don’t want Man United to participate in that ridiculous fight about signing a player, who is that expensive.

“I think that Bellingham should continue his career overseas. He would be amazing at Real Madrid but I still don’t think we should write Liverpool off.

“I know that a lot of silly people and the media says that he shouldn’t go to Liverpool because they are bad at the moment but they shouldn’t be saying that; that’s disrespectful.

“They are a huge club and almost every player would love to join them if they are not playing for a rival’s team.”

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