Fulham willing to sell ‘leader’ in January for less than the fee accepted on summer deadline day

Jason Soutar
Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha and Mason Mount battle for the ball.
Joao Palhinha and Mason Mount battle for the ball.

Bayern Munich are likely to strike a deal with Fulham for Portuguese midfielder Joao Palhinha in the January transfer window, according to reports.

Palhinha came very close to joining the Bundesliga champions on deadline day in the summer transfer window, travelling to Germany to finalise a move.

Negotiations got underway too late in the day and without a replacement lined up, Marco Silva’s side did not sell their star midfielder.

The 28-year-old was linked with a host of top European clubs before Fulham took a punt on him, winning the race ahead of clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal.

It was quite surprising to see Palhinha land at Craven Cottage and he has been a huge success under Silva.

He was superb last term and has started 2023/24 very well, even after failing to land a massive transfer to Bayern.

The German giants are expected to return for Palhinha in 2024 and it has not been entirely clear whether or not they will try again in January or wait until the end of the season.

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According to Sky Germany, Bayern are eager to improve in the winter transfer window and will pursue the players they missed out on in the summer.

Bayern offered €65million (£56.6million) for Palhinha in the summer but are reluctant to match that figure in January, it is claimed.

Luckily for them, Fulham are willing to agree to sell their star man for a smaller fee, which is pretty bizarre given the fact players are usually more expensive during the season.

German outlet Sport Bild adds that Bayern have a €50-75m budget for the winter window with Bouna Sarr and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting allowed to leave.

Selling for a cut price in the middle of the season would be an interesting tactic from Fulham, who must have a replacement lined up.

The Cottagers have been strongly linked with Fluminese youngster Andre and are reportedly leading the race ahead of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.

Even if Andre is an incredibly promising player, losing Palhinha will do Fulham no favours whatsoever.

Speaking in October, Fulham boss Silva hailed Palhinha for being an excellent “leader” after his goal in the 1-1 draw at Brighton.

“He leads through his attitude, he’s not the most vocal guy and he’s improving his English as well. I want him to be more vocal and in that position it’s important,” Silva said.

“His attitude, his commitment, the way he leads the others around are things that are hard to find in football and in moments (when) we lose the ball his reaction is impressive and we want to take the best from him in these moments and in other moments we want him to keep improving.

“We won the ball in a high area and our players took the right decisions, the finish from Joao was great.”

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