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Wolves: Palhinha can replace Ruben Neves



Wolverhampton Wanderers are one of “many clubs” who are “in the frame” to sign Sporting CP defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha.

What’s the word?

According to the latest report from O Jogo, as per Molineux news, Wolves have identified Palhinha as a possible replacement for Ruben Neves, who looks almost certain to depart this summer after spending five seasons at the club.

The 26-year-old has seen his minutes fluctuate across the second-half of the season, amidst his on-going links with Wolves.

Can Palhinha replace Neves?

Neves’ successor at Wolves

Palhinha’s game is all about breaking up opposition attacks in and around the middle and defensive third of the game.

As such, the £23.4 million rated Portuguese midfielder who’s name translates to “butcher” as discovered by Robert Lusetich, boasts some outstanding numbers with his average of 32 pressures, with 20 of these occurring in the middle third – enough to humble Neves’ total of 20.

Palhinha operates much deeper than Neves, who in an attacking sense is much more well-rounded, with the “butcher’s” specified total of 0.17 shot-creating actions all the evidence needed in regards to his lack of threat to the opposition’s goal.

Although he is tried and tested in a 3-4-3 system under Ruben Amorim, his stats suggest that he would shine in a system, like a 4-3-3, that makes use of a single pivot in midfield.

His defensive game is by far his best service and he would have no problem filling the boots of Ruben Neves if he was to depart.

The biggest worry from a Wolves perspective would be his lack of attacking threat.

Wolves have struggled to score goals this season, boasting the fourth worst record when it comes to finding the back of the net, with an average of just one goal per game.

The lack of central threat would suggest that the Old Gold would require at least one creative threat out of the two central midfield options in Bruno Lage’s team, though with on-going links of Leander Dendoncker’s departure amidst Lazio links, the Molineux side may well be out to sign a couple of midfielders this summer.

If that is the case, Palhinha is a sure-fire pick to replace Ruben Neves.

In other news: Better than Dendoncker: Wolves must finally unleash “enormous” 22 y/o who’s “filth…”