Fulham have confirmed the signing of Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha on a five-year deal. The West Londoners fended off interest from Wolves and completed the deal for the 26-year-old. There was a minor delay due to a legal issue with his representatives, but it wasn’t enough to derail his move to Craven Cottage.
Fulham Complete Signing of Joao Palhinha
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) July 4, 2022
What Was Said
Speaking to FFCtv, Palhinha said: “I’m very glad to be here. It’s a big opportunity for me, for my career, to play in what is, in my opinion, the best league in the world. I’ve signed with a great club. The club wanted me, and I chose the Club, so I promise the fans that I will do my best, and I hope we can win so many things this season.”
Fulham co-owner Tony Khan added: “João Palhinha has excelled in Portugal playing both club and international football. He’s been one of our top targets in this window. While other prominent clubs were aiming to secure his signature, we’re thrilled that João chose to come here and that he wants to play for Fulham under our great coach Marco Silva, and we believe that João will be a valuable addition to strengthen the squad to compete this season in the Premier League.”
Despite the official club statement claiming the Portuguese joined for an undisclosed fee, sources from The Athletic believe the West Londoners parted ways with around £20 million to bring the 26-year-old to Craven Cottage.
Days of Humble Beginnings
Palhinha joined Sporting’s academy as an exciting young talent known for imposing himself in games. He got his first taste of senior football when he moved to Moreirense on loan in 2015/16. There, he made 29 appearances as he helped preserve their top-flight status.
Next up on his loan tour was Belenenses, where he spent the first half of the 2016/17 season. He made 13 appearances for The Blues from Restelo before returning to Sporting, where he was integrated into the side that finished third.
A final loan switch saw him spend two seasons with Braga, racking up 61 appearances and five goals. He helped them win the Taça da Liga in his second season.
The Portuguese then returned to his parent club a new man with a wealth of experience under his belt. He was instrumental in helping them win the title for the first time since 2002 in his first season back.
He made 39 appearances last season in all competitions, including six in the Champions League. The Sporting academy product has featured 14 times for the Portuguese International team so far.
Fulham Looking to Build on Promotion
Fulham enjoyed an astonishing Championship-winning campaign under former Everton manager Marco Silva. They won 27 of 46 games, scoring 106 goals and accumulating 90 points as they ran riot to earn promotion.
However, they will be wary of their struggle in maintaining their status in the top flight. The Cottagers endured a five-year spell away from the Premier League between 2013 and 2018. They have since been somewhat of a yo-yo club between the first and second tiers.
Silva reportedly wants as many as ten new faces as he prepares for life back in the Premier League. He identified the midfield as a priority to strengthen this summer after the club decided against extending the contract of Jean Michael Seri at the end of last season.