How good has Palhinha been this season?
The 27-year-old has arguably been one of the standout midfielders in the league so far this season, catching the eye with his off-the-ball ability. In fact, no player in the entire division has won more tackles than him in 2022/23 to date, with a tally of 129 coming his way.
Palhinha has been a big reason for Fulham’s success, with relegation never looking likely despite pre-season prediction suggesting otherwise, and the west Londoners will be desperate to keep hold of him at the end of the season. His current deal expires in the summer of 2027, so it is likely that only a sizeable fee will be able to prise him away once the summer window arrives.
Midfield is an area of the pitch that Chelsea will be only looking for reinforcements in moving forward, and it looks as though the £50,000-a-week Portuguese is a potential option to come in.
Are Chelsea in the mix to sign Palhinha?
According to Football Insider, Chelsea are one of many teams who are “interested” in signing Palhinha this summer, although it clearly won’t be easy for them to get their man. Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are also reportedly in the mix, while Aston Villa are also confident of being able to compete financially with those clubs.
It is stated that Fulham are “resigned to losing” the Portugal international once this season reaches its conclusion, “given the mass amount of interest in his signature”.
Palhinha could be exactly what Chelsea are looking for in the middle of the park moving forward, possessing the ability to cover ground, bite into tackles and generally help them dominate games. With N’Golo Kante’s future up in the air and Mateo Kovacic turning 29 earlier this week, bringing in fresh blood is essential, and the Fulham man could be an ideal partner for Enzo Fernandez, possessing more physicality than the Argentina World Cup winner.
There are very few things working against the move, although the Blues’ lack of European football next season could certainly be an issue, with others reportedly keen on him being able to promise him Champions League next season, which can often be a massive lure for players.
Palhinha has been lauded by Jamie Redknapp for having a “real presence about him” and for being a “fantastic” signing by the Cottagers, and Chelsea signing him could be a masterstroke.