Barcelona have been looking at many midfield profiles after the departure of Sergio Busquets. Despite the signing of Ilkay Gundogan as a free agent from Manchester City, the Catalans want a solid defensive midfielder before the start of the season. Now, it looks like they have identified Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha as the successor for Busquets.
According to the reports from the Sport, Barcelona's sporting director Deco has been working intensely over the last few weeks to identify the defensive midfield solution. Now, he has identified Palhinha as a feasible transfer target for the Catalans.
Barcelona manager Xavi's priority was Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi. However, his high termination clause and the lack of clarity on his role means that he will continue at his current club for one more year. The club had also identified Sofyan Amrabat as a possible solution, but Deco has set his sights on Palhinha. He believes that the Fulham midfielder has all the qualities to be perfect for Xavi's football module. Palhinha has an asking price of €35m, but Fulham are demanding €50m for his signature.
Palhinha has a very strong physique but has also improved in ball rotation over the years. It is a very impressive feat considering he plays for a non-top-six club in the Premier League. Considering Barcelona historically always relied on possession-based module, he would be perfect for the Catalans. Playing as a holder, Palhinha is known for his tremendous positional awareness and ball distribution. With a height of 1.90 meters, he becomes an important player in both boxes.