Arsenal are keeping tabs on Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
Speaking on Kick (quotes via Metro.co.uk), Romano said that the Portuguese international is on the Gunners’ radar as they consider targets ahead of the January transfer window:
“What I can confirm about Palhinha, this was around the media in the recent days, is that there are also English clubs interested in Palhinha and one of those clubs is Arsenal. It is true that Arsenal appreciate the player. There are some people at the club who consider Palhinha a very good player. It’s one of the players they discussed internally.”
Romano did, however, emphasise that a bid for Palhinha is still unlikely as Arsenal have major reservations about the transfer.
“There are two issues – the first one is the age, he’s not a super young player. I think next year he will be 29. Also, the price, Arsenal can’t spend that amount of money, something like £70 million, £80m on one more midfielder after spending the big amount of money they invested on Declan Rice.”
Luiz remains Arsenal’s priority target
Due to the cost of signing Palhinha, it’s felt that Arsenal may well continue pursuing their no.1 option, Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz, instead.
The Brazilian is younger than Palhinha, whilst costing a similar fee, but there are still doubts over whether Mikel Arteta’s side can raise the necessary funds to sign him.
Financial Fair Play rules may force Arsenal into considering cheaper options
After spending over £200m on new signings during the summer transfer window, the Gunners don’t have much room for manoeuvre in terms of FFP.
They were forced into recruiting David Raya on an initial loan deal as they were in danger of breaking the rules if they had shelled out the £30m required to sign him. It means that bids for Luiz or Palhinha may only be tabled if money can be found through player sales.