Portugal v Republic of Ireland - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
FARO, PORTUGAL – SEPTEMBER 01: Joao Palhinha of Sporting CP and Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)

The summer transfer window may be closed down, but Wolverhampton Wanderers will want to keep their eyes on Joao Palhinha.

Failing to secure any incomings on deadline day, it was a disappointing end to the transfer window for Wolves.

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One positive was that they kept hold of star midfielder Ruben Neves.

However, according to Portuguese journalist Pedro Sepulveda, Neves’s future remains far from certain at Wolves.

Speaking to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano on Twitch, the reporter said Wolves would only sell Neves if they could secure a replacement. This would be Sporting Lisbon’s Palhinha.

It was too late for any reported interest from Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur to tempt Neves to leave Molineux now.

However, this is a reality Wolves may face in the future.

Wolves should buy Palhinha in January

Sporting CP v SC Braga - Portuguese SuperCup
AVEIRO, PORTUGAL – JULY 31: Joao Palhinha of Sporting CP of Sporting CP. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Unlike Renato Sanches, who is also expected to be on Wolves’ watchlist for January, Palhinha would fit into the same profile of midfielders that the club already have.

Palhinha’s team, Sporting Lisbon, are about to compete in the Champions League this month. In a group containing Besiktas, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, the Portuguese club will fancy their chances of progressing.

 

The ex-Braga man is also likely to feature for the Portugal national team between now and January. Palhinha started the previous two games for the Selecao.

If Palhinha continues to impress on these bigger stages, then it is very possible his transfer fee could increase considerably. Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha reported he is available for less than £30m right now.

Journalist Duncan Castles suggested that Neves would be sold for no less than £50 million. Although it would be sad to see Neves go, bringing in a similar replacement with a cash surplus for Wolves to reinvest elsewhere could be just what they need after a difficult summer transfer window.

Would Palhinha be an adequate Neves replacement?

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
LEICESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 14: Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers. (Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

As highly rated as Palhinha is, the potential departure of Neves would leave a huge void at Wolves.

Nevertheless, the Sporting man has been reportedly targeted by Wolves since last summer and there is a reason why.

Over the past six months, he has been able to establish himself as a starter in Portugal’s midfield ahead of Wolves duo Neves and Moutinho.

Standing at 1.90 metres, he is 10 centimetres taller than Neves. Therefore, he is likely to be more competitive in aerial duals in midfield.

With Neves being two years younger than Palhinha, he may go on to do bigger and better things if he does leave Molineux. That being said, so may Wolves if they are able to invest in the squad more.

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