Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha is at the top of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ list of targets this summer.

Speculation about the future of Ruben Neves continues to swirl, with Manchester United and Arsenal said to be keen.

Sporting CP v Boavista FC - Liga NOS
Joao Palhinha (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Granit Xhaka is set to leave the Gunners, while Bruno Fernandes is said to have recommended Neves to the United board.

If Neves is to depart this summer, Wolves will need to ensure a quality replacement comes in.

Seemingly, they see Palhinha as that individual.

A Bola report that he is top of their list, and that his profile is appreciated by new head coach Bruno Lage.

Sporting CP v Belenenses SAD - Liga NOS
Joao Palhinha (Photo by João Rico/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Sporting don’t particularly want to lose Palhinha, but would not be able to resist a good offer.

 

The Primeira Liga champions are back in the Champions League next season, and want to retain their best players.

But they could be powerless to prevent Palhinha’s exit, especially if Wolves come sniffing after raking in a big fee for Neves.

Palhinha would be a superb signing

Losing Neves would be a real blow, but getting Palhinha in as his replacement would certainly cushion it.

It’s easy to see why he might be top of Wolves’ list of targets.

Joao Palhinha v FC Porto - Liga NOS
Joao Palhinha (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

The man is a colossus in midfield. He may not have the passing range or long-range shooting ability of Neves, but he’s such an effective disruptor.

He can come in and provide that steel and discipline, and allow the more creative players around him to do their thing.

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