Recent reports emerged confirming Arsenal’s interest in signing Joao Palhinha from Fulham.
Fabrizio Romano revealed on the Kick podcast that the Gunners appreciate the player: “What I can confirm about Palhinha… is that there are also English clubs interested in Palhinha. One of those clubs is Arsenal. It is true that Arsenal appreciate the player. There are some people at the club who consider Palhinha a very good player. It’s one of the players they discussed internally.”
With Thomas Partey potentially departing Arsenal this January, Arteta is on the lookout for a suitable replacement. They have been heavily linked with Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, but, the club have made it clear that they do not intend on selling the player.
Therefore the north London outlet has now put Palhinha on their list of targets.
3 reasons why Arsenal could sign Joao Palhinha
1. Experience and depth
Palhinha turned 28 in July and has plenty of experience playing football at the highest level. Before joining Fulham in 2022, the 28-year-old played for Sporting Lisbon where he won three League Cups, one Portuguese Super Cup and one Portuguese league title.
His experience will add valuable depth to the title fighting Arsenal squad. Throughout his career, Palhinha has not featured for his team due to injury for only 57 days. This availability will prove valuable to Mikel Arteta now that his side are on a more action packed schedule.
2. Physicality and dominance
Arsenal's interest in Palhinha stems from his commanding physicality. Standing at 6'2", he excels in aerial duels and tenacious tackles, while his endurance suits the Premier League's demands.
The Portuguese’s presence offers Arsenal a strong alternative to Declan Rice. Both the players are similar in terms of their build. In the physically demanding English league, it is crucial to have players who can fight off threats to possession and retain the ball.
3. Defensive brilliance
Palhinha has the ability to position himself correctly in almost all situations. This allows him to be able to anticipate the ball and retain possession in highly threatening scenarios.
This defensive acumen not only fortifies the backline but also contributes to a controlled and composed style of play, making him a key asset in critical moments of the game. This is essential in a system like Arsenal’s as they rely on control.
Palhinha can be categorised as a very tradition #6. His experience and ability allows Arteta to have quality depth. While Partey is certainly a quality player, his constant unavailability due to injuries limits depth. With the Portuguese midfielder however, it is quite the opposite; historically he has mostly been out due to short term injuries only.
However, Palhinha is an alternative in case Arsenal are not able to sign Douglas Luiz. Before the season, the Fulham player was on the verge of a €55m transfer to Bayern Munich, a deal that collapsed in the final stages.
According to the Metro, the German giants have now retained interest in the player and face competition from Liverpool among other English sides.