Arsenal and Mikel Arteta have identified Fulham midfielder, João Palhinha, as a potential transfer target to boost the midfield depth in North London.
Thomas Partey’s consistent injuries issues have become an increasing concern for Mikel Arteta as the Ghanian registered his ninth injury during his fourth season at the club in October. With Partey’s poor availability record, rumours have emerged that Arsenal have turned to the market to seek a long-term replacement for the midfielder.
Initially, reports emerged that Arsenal were interested in Aston Villa midfielder, Douglas Luiz. In the summer of 2022, Arsenal saw three bids rejected for the Brazil international, with the final offer amounting to £25million on deadline day.
However, as Aston Villa did in 2022, they have once again confirmed to the North London giants that Luiz is not for sale as his current contract does not expire until 2026.
Upon hearing this news, Arsenal have turned to 28 year-old, João Palhinha. The midfielder joined Fulham from Sporting CP in 2022, and has since become a fan favourite in West London. Palhinha has featured 45 times for the Cottagers and 24 times for the Portuguese national team since his first international cap in 2021.
Palhinha has impressed many top European clubs since his move to London, and Bayern Munich came close to securing the Portuguese international’s signature last summer. On deadline day, Palhinha completed his medical for the German giants ahead of a £56.6million move, but Fulham blocked the transfer as they could not find an adequate replacement for the midfielder before the window shut. In retaliation, Fulham then agreed a new contract until 2028, with the option to extend for a further year.
Partey’s current injury is set to sideline him until the new year, and with his Ghanaian international duties at the African Cup of Nations at the beginning of 2024, a move in the January window could bolster Arsenal’s squad depth before another title run-in.
However, it has been reported that if Arsenal were to secure the signature of the experienced midfielder, it would most likely be a signing for the summer, instead of a winter reinforcement.