“Front Of That Queue” – Neil Jones On Liverpool Links To PL ‘Destroyer’ Who Is Looking For Move

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It was a case of nine points in six days for Liverpool in the Premier League last week, but the Reds needed to be rescued by Harvey Elliott as they struggled to break down Crystal Palace.

The 20-year-old continued his recent trend of superb second-half cameos, slamming a left-footed shot past the goalkeeper from the edge of the box. It took conceding a goal and for the Eagles to have Jordan Ayew sent off until Jürgen Klopp’s side spluttered into life, a fact the manager admitted in his post-match press conference.

Crunch fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal are now on the horizon, as is the possibility of entering 2024 top of the league.

Another important factor in the new year is the opening of the transfer window. Many pundits believe defensive cover should be a priority after the long-term injury to Joël Matip was confirmed last week. Others believe a defensive midfielder should be Klopp’s next port of call after missing out on Roméo Lavia and Moisés Caicedo in the summer.

One player in the latter camp is Fulham’s João Palhinha. The 28-year-old narrowly missed out on a summer move to Bayern Munich and is believed to still be on the wishlists of Liverpool and Arsenal.

On the latest episode of our Journo Insight show, we asked experienced LFC reporter Neil Jones for his thoughts on the Palhinha links.

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“No, I don’t think they’ll sign him. They would have tried to sign him in the summer if they wanted to. He was available, clearly. They signed a 30-year-old – they’re not going to sign a 28-year-old for three times that figure.

“If you want a destroyer, you want someone to win tackles and be strong and break up play – there aren’t many better than him around in the Premier League at this moment in time.

“I don’t think Liverpool will be signing him. Bayern Munich very much missed out on not just him, but a few others in the summer. I expect them to be at the front of that queue.

“I wouldn’t expect Liverpool or Arsenal actually – I know there was there was a link with them as well. I wouldn’t expect either of those two to be going and splashing out £50+million for a player like him.

“He joined Fulham last summer for what? – £20 million, I think. There were some links with Liverpool. It might have made more sense then, getting him direct from Sporting.

“We saw Klopp talking about Endo and why Liverpool chose to sign him and how they came to land upon him – I’m pretty sure in amongst that process they would have landed somewhere on the possibility of Palhinha and they’ve turned it down in the summer, so I don’t expect them to change that in January.”

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João Palhinha’s age and rumoured price tag were always likely to count against him in terms of a possible move to Liverpool, albeit the Portuguese international is reportedly still looking to leave Craven Cottage. The Reds broke from their recent transfer policy by signing Wataru Endo in the summer, but the Japanese midfielder came in for a fraction of the £60million fee Fulham were demanding for Palhinha.

Klopp seems to be happy with his current deep-lying options of Alexis Mac Allister and Endo. The Argentinian has put in some good performances at number six and has struggled further up the pitch. The age and fee for André Trindade felt more of a match as an FSG signing, but with Neil casting doubt on that deal a few weeks ago, it now looks increasingly likely that the Reds will be relying on the midfield options they have in the squad.

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