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Manchester United 'planning to hijack' Bayern Munich's move for £60m midfielder

Man Utd 'planning to hijack' Bayern's move for £60m midfielder
© Reuters
Manchester United are reportedly planning to hijack Bayern Munich's attempt to sign Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha after the Cottagers reject the Bavarians' opening bid.

Manchester United are planning to hijack Bayern Munich's attempt to sign Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha, according to a report.

Palhinha has established himself as one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League since arriving from Sporting Lisbon at Craven Cottage for £20m two summers ago.

The Portugal international topped all Premier League players in tackles during the 2022-23 season and has also developed a knack for scoring goals from deep positions.

It had been widely expected that the midfielder would finalise a move to Bayern Munich this summer after narrowly missing out on a transfer to the Allianz Arena last season when his deal collapsed on deadline day.

In January, the 28-year-old reiterated his desire to move to Munich from Fulham, but the German giants were unwilling to approve the transfer due to uncertainty surrounding Thomas Tuchel's position.

Fulham's Joao Palhinha in action with Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes on November 4, 2023© Reuters

Fulham set firm asking price for Joao Palhinha

Bayern have maintained an interest in bringing Palhinha to the Bundesliga, but their pursuit of the highly-rated midfielder hit a stumbling block this week after Fulham rejected their opening bid of £30m.

While Fulham seem to have resigned to the reality that they are going to lose their star midfielder this summer, Sky Sports report that the Cottagers are holding steadfast in their asking price of £60m.

The report adds that following Fulham's rejection of the Bavarians' offer, Man United are now considering a move for the 28-year-old ahead of the 2024-25 season.

United are expected to be preparing for a major overhaul this summer with several players being linked with moves away from Old Trafford in the upcoming transfer window.

In terms of central midfielders, Casemiro is believed to be attracting interest from clubs in Saudi Arabia, while Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek's futures at the club are still up in the air.

However, the main issue for Man United in shelling out £60m for the Fulham man this summer is that he turns 29 in July, which might not make him a viable long-term investment.

Additionally, signing a 28-year-old goes against the rules that Sir Jim Ratcliffe has set for the club for future transfer windows.

The British billionaire admitted that the club had previously been guilty of overpaying for ageing big-name players, making it crucial for them to avoid repeating that approach.

Germany coach Hansi Flick before the match on September 9, 2023© Reuters

Palhinha on the radar of La Liga giants

Aside from United, it is also understood that Barcelona are keeping tabs on Palhinha, as they look to strengthen their squad this summer after finishing 10 points behind Real Madrid last term.

However, it is difficult to see the Spanish giants managing to get a deal done given their current financial situation.

Bayern are one of the few clubs that could afford the £60m asking price but it remains to be seen whether they would be willing to spend that much on a single purchase in this transfer window.

The Bavarians also are expected to be busy this summer as they look to bolster their squad after ending the 2023-24 campaign trophyless.

Among the players that could depart the Allianz Arena this summer is Matthijs de Ligt, who was previously on the radar of Man United.

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