West Ham Opinion: Hammers should consider gambling on Joao Palhinha
According to claims from Portuguese outlet Record (h/t MSN), West Ham have enquired about the availability of Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha, with manager Manuel Pellegrini seemingly interested in bolstering his ranks even further.
West Ham have already made the headlines with big-money deals for Spanish playmaker Pablo Fornals as well as French striker Sebastien Haller, with both the new signings expected to play a key role in the Hammers first-team next season.
However, it looks as if the East Londoners are keen to make a few more additions to their squad before the deadline, with Portuguese midfielder Joao Palhinha being the latest to emerge on the club’s shortlist.
The move isn’t as straightforward as it looks though, with Palhinha currently in the middle of a two-season loan deal at Braga. Hence, complications are bound to arise in the negotiations if West Ham firm up their interest in the 24-year-old defensive midfielder over the next few weeks. (h/t MSN)
Palhinha, who spent this past season on loan at Braga in the Primeira Liga, contributed with 2 goals and 2 assists in 23 league appearances to propel his team to a 4th place finish in the Portuguese top-flight.
The former Portuguese U-20 international is expected to play a key role once again for Braga next term unless West Ham manage to complete a deal to bring him to the Premier League this summer.
Born in Lisbon, Palhinha joined Sporting CP’s youth system in 2012 at the age of 17 but he featured largely for the reserve side after signing a professional contract, only making a handful of appearances for the first-team in the process.
The defensive midfielder spent time on loan at fellow Primeira Liga sides Belenenses and Moreirense before completing a two-season loan move to Braga last summer.
To put things into perspective, Joao Palhinha is quite an unfamiliar entity to the fans at East London but it probably won’t be a bad idea for the Hammers to play a low-cost gamble on the 24-year-old given that they are currently in need of fresh faces in central midfield.
Moreover, the player in question is just 24, so the Hammers would be able to move him on for a good enough resale value should he fail to acclimatise to the Premier League.
Having already brought in Fornals to improve the quality of the supply lines, the Hammers need to shift their focus towards finding an ideal long-term partner for star man Declan Rice in central midfield. Mark Noble played that role really well last season but one should not forget that he is already on the wrong side of 30.
And it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that the Hammers need to offload the likes of Pedro Obiang and Carlos Sanchez, given that neither of them has offered good value for money.
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West Ham need to ensure that they have the right kind of balance in their squad prior to the start of the upcoming campaign and the acquisition of Joao Palhinha should certainly add a lot of cover in a key area of the pitch for Pellegrini.
Keeping that in mind, the Hammers should not hesitate to play a gamble on the 24-year-old, as he is unlikely to cost the club too much money.