Reported Liverpool target Joao Palhinha has been given the seal of approval of one former Anfield hero in Danny Murphy with the Fulham ace enjoying an ‘absolutely phenomenal’ debut season in the Premier League.
Much has been made of the advancing years of Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara; the Liverpool due now the wrong side of 30.
Fabinho, however, will be entering the next decade too in October. And with the former Monaco and Real Madrid enforcer seemingly well past his prime – a lot of miles on the clock these days, even if he should not be consigned to the scrapheap just yet – Jurgen Klopp’s hopes of a Reds revival may rest upon whether an adequate replacement can be secured for a man who could conceivably claim to have been the finest defensive midfielder in European football for much of the last five years.
So, enter Joao Palhinha.
The Daily Mail suggest that the former Sporting Lisbon enforcer – so impressive since joining a newly-promoted Fulham outfit back in 2022 – is viewed at Anfield as a more defensively-minded acquisition to potentially line up alongside Alexis Mac Allister and Mason Mount in Klopp’s revamped engine room.
Will Liverpool replace Fabinho with Fulham’s Joao Palhinha?
How much Fulham demand for Palhinha, only time will tell. The powerhouse Portugal international will certainly cost a lot more these days than the £20 million fee which – according to Murphy – makes him perhaps the Premier League’s best pound-for-pound addition for 2022/23.
“(Is Palhinha) the best value for money signing? He has been absolutely phenomenal,” the former Liverpool and Fulham playmaker tells talkSPORT; Palhinha only narrowly missing out on Murphy’s very own Team of the Season.
“Rodri jumps to mind because of how amazingly consistant he has been throughout the whole season. He doesn’t have a bad game.”
You could say the same of Palhinha, even if the 27-year-old’s form has dipped a little of late. Palhinha is still the Premier League’s most prolific tackler; averaging 4.2 per game. That is far more than Fabinho’s avarage of 1.9 (WhoScored).