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Joao Palhinha willing to listen to Everton and Leicester offers amid £34.5m transfer race

According to Record, Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha will listen to offers from Everton amid growing Premier League transfer interest.

The Toffees, along with Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, are keen to bring the 25-year-old to England.

Wolves have paid close attention to the holding midfielder and remain keen despite seeing previous approaches turned down.

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A renewed approach from the Molineux outfit is likely but the West Midlands outfit would now face heightened competition. Sporting will also prove difficult negotiators with the Liga NOS outfit setting a €40million (£34.5m) asking price.

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Sporting believe Palhinha is worth such a fee as he is a favourite of head coach Ruben Amorim. The three-cap Portugal international is also happy at the Jose Alvalade Stadium and may be offered a new contract.

The Leoes are prepared to increase the value of his current £9,100-per-week deal as a reward for his season. Palhinha started 28 of his 32 league appearances to help Sporting claim a first Liga NOS title since 2002.

But despite being happy at Amorim’s side, Palhinha is willing to hear what the English clubs have to offer. A transfer would hinge on the terms presented by Everton, Leicester or Wolves as big numbers would open his mind.

Wolves could hold an advantage in any transfer battle for Palhinha through their association with super-agent Jorge Mendes. But it is expected that personal terms are the main factor in deciding the Lisbon-born talent’s future.

TBR’s view: Everton could struggle to sign Palhinha

Everton could face a struggle to sign Palhinha beyond the rival Premier League interest from Leicester and Wolves. The midfielder is one of Amorim’s most important players and the Sporting boss will be loath to see him leave.

Reports by O Jogo claim Amorim has already urged the Leoes hierarchy to do all they can to retain Palhinha. He considers the midfielder to be fundamental to his tactics and will be crucial in the Champions League next season.

Palhinha brings robustness and solidity to the Sporting engine room that would be hard for Amorim to replace. He also forms a formidable partnership with Sebastien Coates and Antonio Adan that the Leoes boss refuses to break up.

Everton, then, may have to pay the full £34.5m that Sporting demand plus whatever lucrative salary Palhinha requests. But that may prove difficult, as the Liverpool Echo report that Marcel Brands is working to lower the wage bill.

If Everton’s Director of Football is striving to lower the salaries being paid, Palhinha may not listen to what the Toffees have to offer and spell the end to the Merseysiders’ interest.

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