Liverpool‘s woes have been well-documented this season and the prestigious Premier League outfit will be scouring the transfer market for signings to bolster the ranks and ascend to prominence once more this summer.
The Reds have fallen by the wayside this term and have struggled to replicate previous feats under manager Jurgen Klopp‘s galvanising leadership.
The dynasty that has been crafted has indeed returned Liverpool to the front of the European pack, with every major honour – barring the Europa League – gleaned during the German’s tenure.
This season, inexplicably, this squad of proven winners have failed to exude half the previous confidence and swagger, and despite constructing a six-match winning streak at this late stage of the campaign, remain outsiders in the race for Champions League football.
According to Football Insider, Aston Villa are willing to meet Fulham’s £60m asking price for the Portuguese titan, which could prompt Klopp to ramp up his own interest in the gem and secure the signature of a man who could have a transformative effect on the Anfield midfield.
Should Liverpool sign Joao Palhinha?
The Cottagers completed the signing of Palhinha from Sporting Lisbon for £20m upon their return to the top-flight last year, a transfer for a new midfield anchor which proved to be one of the Premier League summer market’s finest moves.
Having made 37 appearances this season, scoring four goals, the 27-year-old has succeeded in leading his side as a talismanic central engine to stability after years of uncertainty, with Fulham indeed perched in tenth place after 35 matches, six points above stricken Chelsea.
As per Sofascore, the 20-cap Portugal international has recorded a 7.05 league rating and has dazzled with his assurance on the ball – completing 84% of his passes – and his tenacity as an unrelenting destroyer – making 4.3 tackles and 1.8 clearances per outing – to provide Fulham with one of the sturdiest protections in the division.
In fact, the £50k-per-week colossus ranks among the top 1% of midfielders across Europe’s big five leagues for tackles, the top 9% for clearances and the top 8% for aerials won per 90, as per FBref, with journalist Zach Lowy even likening him to imperious Manchester United monster Casemiro.
If Liverpool were to forge ahead with a move, they could seal a bargain new holding midfielder to reignite their cohesion and potency in the centre, with prominent target Declan Rice reportedly available this summer.
According to Sky Sports, the West Ham United man – who is also of interest to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United – is touted at a jaw-dropping £120m by his outfit, which is double the reported price of Palhinha.
The Portuguese ranks above both Rice and Casemiro for tackles won in the Premier League this season; in fact, Palhinha ranks above everyone: making 139 tackles thus far, and second-placed Brighton & Hove Albion workhorse Moises Caicedo boasts 93, a staggering and commendable gulf.
For such a robust and gritty option in Fulham’s “machine“, as Palhinha was described by teammate Harrison Reed, to cost so much less than the likes of Rice, it opens the question as to why Liverpool should part with such a considerable sum when wholesale changes are needed immediately.
Palhinha over Rice should be a no-brainer when considering the exorbitant fees thrown around by the Hammers camp.