‘Rules midfield’ – Star Spurs missed out on praised for impressive start to season 

Fabio Paratici
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Sporting Lisbon midfielder, Joao Palhinha, who Tottenham missed out on the summer, has seemingly made a great start to the season, with the Portuguese press lavishing praise on him this week.

While Tottenham strengthened their backline through the additions of Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal, brought in a new backup goalkeeper in Pierluigi Gollini, and snapped up a promising young attacker in the form of Bryan Gil, the North London club failed to strengthen their midfield ranks.

The club did complete a deal for Metz’s hot young prospect, Pape Matar Sarr, but the teenager has been loaned back to the Ligue 1 club for the season.

Palhinha was alleged to be one of the central midfield options on Spurs’ radar during the summer, with the North Londoners reportedly having a loan offer for the midfielder turned down by Sporting.

Tottenham were backed to make another offer of around €20m (£17.1m) for the 26-year-old in the final days of the transfer window but the bid never seemed to arrive.

The Portuguese international thus ended up staying put at Sporting and has seemingly hit the ground running at the start of the season.

SportWitness have now relayed a report from the print edition of A Bola, which lavished praise on Palhinha for his performance in Sporting’s 1-0 win away at Estoril.

The report states: “It starts to be difficult to quantify the defensive and offensive actions of a midfielder who attacks (almost scored with a bomb, at 90+3′), who defends, who rules midfield, with a radius of action that increases without him having any problems with it.

“That, alone, disarms opponents, and almost pushes the opponent into midfield, with intensity and aggressiveness immune to fatigue. That carries the heart of the team, in every action, in every cut.”

Sport Witness also shed light on a column written by journalist, Rogerio Azevedo, titled ‘Palhinha Clube de Portugal’, which backs the midfielder to reach the very top of the game sooner rather than later.

Azevedo writes: “The problem, as always, is the future. It looks impossible (unfortunately) that Sporting holds him for much longer. However, if he leaves, let it be for a big one: to a shark of the biggest sharks.”

Spurs Web Opinion 

Based on the above appraisals of Palhinha’s performances so far this season, it does seem like we might have missed a trick up not paying up what Sporting were demanding for the 26-year-old in the summer.

However, success in the Portuguese league does not necessarily translate to the Premier League. For every success story such as Bruno Fernandes, there are also flops such as Islam Slimani.

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