Arsenal could be priced out of a move for Joao Palhinha

Arsenal could reportedly be priced out of a move for Fulham’s midfield destroyer Joao Palhinha, who could cost as much as £60 million in the January transfer window.

According to Dean Jones via GIVEMESPORT, Arsenal are interested in signing Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha and are one of the sides monitoring his situation ahead of the winter transfer window, with Mikel Arteta keen to add a new defensive midfielder to his ranks.

However, the prospect of the Gunners’ forking out £60 million for the 28-year-old Portuguese enforcer midway through the season seems unlikely at the moment.

Jones told GMS: “A lot of the narrative around Palhinha has been fiction as far as I’m concerned. It’s been played out publicly like there are three, four, maybe even five teams looking to sign him in January but the reality is that the chance of that many clubs being able to sign a £60m midfielder halfway through the season is slim. I think there have been some intermediaries at work possibly, trying to work up interest.

“Don’t get me wrong, he’s an outstanding footballer and Fulham can’t keep hold of him forever. But I’ll be staggered if Arsenal or Chelsea or Liverpool step up with big money. Manchester United were linked but again there is no sign of them spending this sort of money yet. You could argue that Man City might be one that could afford it and possibly need him – but so far I’ve not heard much about their interest.”

Fulham paid around £20 million to sign Palhinha ahead of their return to the Premier League in 2022/23, and he proved to be one of the signings of the season. The defensive midfielder made a huge impact as Marco Silva’s side exceeded expectations to finish 10th in the Premier League.

Palhinha attracted the attention of clubs around Europe in the summer, and he looked set to join Bayern Munich for around £55 million on deadline day. He even travelled to Germany for a medical, but the deal failed to get over the line as Fulham were unable to sign a suitable replacement.

The Portugal international has since got his head down, and he continues to be one of Fulham’s best players. Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United have all been linked with him ahead of January, but the Cottagers’ will very certainly seek more than £60 million for him in January, and not many teams will pay that for a player who will turn 29 next summer.

A central midfielder would surely benefit Arteta following Thomas Partey’s recent thigh injury setback. He is also due to represent Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations if he can prove his fitness. The 28-year-old does not fit Arsenal’s traditional transfer profile in terms of age, but it’s clear he would immediately improve their starting XI and would be a shoo-in alongside Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard in midfield.

However, it’s no secret the Gunners will have to be cautious of Financial Fair Play regulations following an expensive £208 million summer transfer splurge that has left them sailing close to the wind. Sales could therefore prove key to Arsenal’s spending power.

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