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Friday Fulham Stuff - 17/03/23...

Started by WhiteJC, March 17, 2023, 12:00:22 AM

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Newcastle transfer news: Fulham keeping tabs on Magpies target

Fulham are reportedly keeping tabs on PSG midfielder Edouard Michut, with Newcastle United also believed to be interested in signing the on-loan Sunderland talent.

According to Fabrizio Romano, the Cottagers are following the 20-year-old's situation with Michut playing a key role in the Black Cats' quest for a Championship play-off finish, with Sunderland having the option to sign the youngster for just £2m in the summer, a fee which increases to £4.5m if they are promoted.

Fulham are far from alone in their interest in Michut, though, with Sky Sports News reporter Lyall Thomas claiming that Newcastle are also keeping tabs on the Frenchman, who could be set for a stay in England regardless of if Sunderland triggers the option to sign the youngster.

Despite making just eight starts for the Stadium of Light side this season, Michut's performances have certainly caught the eye of the Premier League, with Fulham potentially a great next step for the French youth international if Sunderland fail to agree a deal with the midfielder in the summer.

Indeed, Michut surprised many by signing for the northeast side in the summer, yet the 20-year-old's time at Sunderland has raised a lot of eyebrows, and Fulham could now do battle with Newcastle to sign the midfielder in the upcoming transfer window.

Fulham could beat Newcastle to Michut signing this summer
The Newcastle – Sunderland rivalry, to many, is one of the fiercest in England, and whilst it hasn't stopped players from joining either side in recent years, Michut could be dismayed from joining the Toon based on his time with the Black Cats, with Fulham a fantastic option for the midfielder, regardless.

Marco Silva's side have been one of the surprises of the Premier League this campaign, and with the Portuguese manager an advocate of playing young players, particularly midfielders, Michut could be easily convinced to sign for the west London side over a move to Newcastle this summer.


Fulham player says he's going to Arsenal match – Wants to see Gunners lose

Sporting are set to have a special supporter at the Emirates Stadium when they face Arsenal this evening.

That's their former midfielder João Palhinha, who now plays for Fulham, and he'll be at the stadium to watch with his family.

The player himself revealed that in an interview he had with the Portuguese media. He had been speaking of Sporting's chances of beating Arsenal, and ended up telling them he's actually going to the match.

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal beat Fulham 3-0 at the weekend, so it's a chance for a little revenge, even if unlikely.

"I will be at the stadium with my wife and son and I hope they're happy in the end," João Palhinha told Sport TV (via O Jogo).

The 27-year-old talked about the Lions being prepared for this type of challenge, believing they could make their way to the quarter-finals and get a win in London.

"I'll be rooting for them to win tomorrow, I know it won't be an easy game. They played very well in the first game. I believe they can also give a good answer tomorrow, in an environment that is very good, in the Champions League.

"I think that Sporting is already used to this type of environment, especially in recent years due to the fact that they played in the Champions League. The club being included in this type of competition demonstrates the growth it has had, and tomorrow I expect a strong Sporting capable of giving a good response."

João Palhinha left Sporting for Fulham in a €20m move last summer.

The midfielder had been a starter for the Lions in the previous seasons, and his departure is one of the reasons the Lions may not qualify for the Champions League this time around.

Since joining Marco Silva at Fulham, the player had a quick adaptation to the Premier League and already has 28 appearances for the club, with four goals scored.


Andreas Pereira interview: On his exit from Manchester United, and a new chapter at Fulham

Andreas Pereira is looking forward to returning to Manchester United on Sunday, but in the summer it was time to leave. He was so convinced he had to move on after a stop-start 10 years at Old Trafford that he dodged face-to-face talks with Erik ten Hag for fear that the new manager would be able to convince him to stick around.

Ten Hag knew all about Pereira from his time as a coach at PSV Eindhoven and there were conversations between football director John Murtough and Pereira's representatives about taking a closer look at the midfielder during the preseason tour of Thailand and Australia.

But Pereira resisted the temptation to hear what Ten Hag had to say and instead asked to leave. His mind was made up and, after six months of regular football in a Fulham team that has surprised in the Premier League so far this season, he's happy with his decision. He returns to Old Trafford on Sunday for Fulham's first FA Cup quarterfinal (stream live on ESPN+, 12:30 p.m. ET) in more than a decade.

"I didn't speak with Ten Hag," Pereira tells ESPN. "I know him because I worked with him at PSV but I was determined in my head and maybe if I spoke with the manager again I would stay. In my head I was thinking 'I need to go, I need to feel confident and play' and that's what I did.

"At United I had a lot of memories; good memories, bad memories. It's been 10 years at the club. I arrived when I was 16 so, you know, a young boy. It was an amazing ride but I got to the stage where I thought maybe it was best not to stay.

"I wanted to feel more loved and I wanted to play every game. What Fulham offered me and what [manager] Marco [Silva] offered me, it was the perfect opportunity."

United staff members who were at the club long before Ten Hag were already well aware of Pereira's headstrong nature. In 2017, he defied Jose Mourinho's wish for him to stay at the club and instead insisted on joining Valencia on loan. He admitted at the time to being "nervous" about taking on Mourinho but he insists he has no regrets.

"It was very good for me because I played a lot of games in different leagues in Spain and Italy," he says. "I learned a lot of new things that maybe in England I wouldn't have learned. It made me a more complete player. Of course, you have the bad side because you don't stay in one place but every year I was feeling good and my aim was to come back to Manchester United."

The temporary move to Valencia was one of four loans during his time at Old Trafford, along with spells at Granada, Lazio and Flamengo. He was so impressive at Flamengo that when United sent scouts to watch Joao Gomes -- now at Wolverhampton Wanderers -- they reported back that Pereira was the Brazilian side's best player.

Last summer, there was interest from clubs in Spain, Italy and Germany but Pereira, now 27, was determined to prove that he could flourish in the Premier League. A key part of Fulham's midfield under Silva, he is ranked sixth in the league for assists.

"I'm feeling at home here and it's been great so far," Pereira said. "When I first came here they told me that every year in the Premier League they would go down. The main objective was to stay in the Premier League but I spoke with the manager and he told me what he wanted to achieve and the way he wanted to play.

"He was very ambitious and I really liked that. When we were five games into the season we realised we could do something great with the team and it's been amazing. He's very, very strong and he's a great guy. I've been enjoying my football so it's been amazing."

Pereira will be reunited with old friends on Sunday, coming up against old United academy teammate Marcus Rashford. Like Pereira, Rashford is also having his best season as a professional having scored a career best 26 goals.

"I've known Marcus for a very, very long time," Pereira said. "He's a great guy and I think the difference this season is the manager has shown a lot of faith in him and given him a lot of confidence, just letting him play his game. That's what he's doing.

"He's showing what he can do on the pitch, he's free of injuries and he's enjoying every moment, You can see that in the way he plays. For us, it's something not good but we have to try to deal with that."

Pereira's first meeting with United this season ended in a narrow defeat at Craven Cottage after Alejandro Garnacho scored a last-minute winner on the final weekend before the break for the World Cup. Fulham's form since the restart has lifted them into eighth in the table and just three points off the top six.

Victory over United would earn a first FA Cup semifinal since 2002 and Pereira believes his new team can cause a shock at his old home.

"I'll have mixed emotions," Pereira said. "It's a difficult game but I'm happy to play against Manchester United. It will be my first time back and feeling that atmosphere. I've never been there as a visitor so it will be something new. They have a lot of confidence.

"They're playing really, really well but sometimes when you're that confident it's not good as well. We know we have to work very, very hard to win against them but we will do everything and try to play the perfect game."


Everton (A) Tickets

Tickets for Fulham's away fixture against Everton go on sale from Friday 17th March, 10am.

Fulham make the trip north west for more Premier League action as they take on Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday 15th April, kick-off 3pm.

Tickets for this match will be released to 22/23 Season Ticket Holders (4 tickets per person) on Friday 17th March, 10am. Tickets will then be released to 22/23 Members on Monday 20th March (4 tickets per person) and then to Supporters with a Previous Booking History on Wednesday 22nd March (4 tickets per person).

Adult tickets for this fixture are priced at £30, with Over 65s tickets priced at £25 and Juniors priced at £20.


Fans will be able to secure their seats online at or by calling the Fulham FC Ticket Office on 0203 871 0810.

Please note, supporters will need to ensure they are logged in to their OneFulham Account and have linked their ticketing account in order to purchase online. For more information on the OneFulham Account, please click here.

More information about this fixture can be found here.


Club could be set to benefit from 10% clause as 3 PL giants circle for Fulham player

Fulham midfielder João Palhinha is today highlighted in the Portuguese media, with interest from Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea mentioned.

Newspaper Record managed to have a quick word with him, with the player leaving a message for his former teammates at Sporting about the big Europa League clash they're facing tonight.

The outlet then comes up to say that the 27-year-old, who was sold in a €20m deal last year, could still give the Lions some profit. The first reason is that the Lisbon side would make €1m in case the Whites avoid relegation to the Championship this season, and that's practically guaranteed.

The other chunk of money Sporting may receive is in case Fulham sell Palhinha for more than they paid. And this scenario is said to be pretty much possible, because according to Record, the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are all interested in him.

The report doesn't give many details on a potential contact from those clubs for the signing, or even how much the Whites would demand to let the player go so soon.

Sporting are entitled to get 10% of the profit Fulham make with Palhinha's sale. He's currently valued by Transfermarkt at €35m, and if he moves for that much, €1.5m would go to Lisbon.


Report: Club think they can stop their 'fantastic' manager from joining Tottenham, he's Levy's top pick

Fulham are reportedly confident that they will be able to retain their manager, Marco Silva, amid interest from Tottenham Hotspur. Silva has been in talks with the club over a new contract, and while it is not yet signed, Fulham is hopeful that it will be soon.

According to GiveMeSport, Fulham are willing to reward Silva for the job he has done in winning promotion and then establishing the team back in the top-flight. While, they are also aware of the potential impact that a new deal could have on any interest from elsewhere – namely Tottenham,

Indeed, Spurs are believed to be one of the interested parties, with The Sun reporting that Silva is now Daniel Levy's top target. The future of current Tottenham manager Antonio Conte remains uncertain, and it looks like Silva's impressive work at Fulham has not gone unnoticed.

Despite the interest from Spurs, Fulham is confident that they can keep hold of Silva. The team is currently ninth in the Premier League, and Silva has played a huge role in the Whites' rise to the top-half of the Premier League.

Silva has a proven track record in English football, having previously managed Watford, Hull City and Everton in the Premier League.

Of course, the 'fantastic' manager doesn't have a reputation for being the most loyal manager in the world – he was, quite publicly, flirting with Everton during his time at Watford.

The potential loss of Silva would be a significant blow to Fulham, who have been building a team around the manager's vision, and with the managerial market looking rather thin right now, the Whites could struggle to replace him.

It remains to be seen whether Tottenham's interest in Silva will intensify as we head into the summer, but if Spurs do make their move for the 45-year-old, his head could very easily be turned.


Connor McAvoy returns to Fulham

We can confirm that Connor McAvoy has returned to Fulham having sustained an injury that will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season during Saturday's draw with Greenock Morton.

The Scotland under 21 international was stretchered off during the first half of Saturday's game and has returned to London to undergo rehabilitation with his parent club.

Everyone at Thistle wishes Connor a speedy recovery and every success for the rest of his career.


Man Utd 'join Liverpool and Chelsea' in Joao Palhinha race as transfer clause emerges
Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha is reportedly attracting interest ahead of the summer transfer window with Manchester United the latest club to be linked with a swoop.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea are all interested in acquiring the services of Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha this summer, according to reports in the player's homeland of Portugal. The combative 27-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season in the middle of the park at Craven Cottage and it appears his performances have left a lasting impression on some of the Premier League's Big Six.

Fulham paid around £20million to complete the signing of the Portugal international last summer from Sporting CP and it proved to be a masterstroke for Marco Silva.

Palhinha has been among the best midfielders in the top-flight this season and is now also recognised as one of the best imports from last summer's transfer window.

However, it appears Fulham could now be facing a fight to retain Palhinha for the 2023/24 campaign as interest from further afield begins to intensify.

Record in Portugal say United, Liverpool and Chelsea are all weighing up a summer deal, meaning Fulham could be braced for offers when the market reopens.

The report also adds that Sporting will be entitled to 10 per cent profit should Fulham cash in due to a clause inserted into his contract at Craven Cottage.

It means if Fulham are somehow seduced into a sale, they will be demanding a premium to maximise their profits, although Palhinha is tied down to a long-term contract in west London.

The former Sporting man has made a reputation for himself via his crunching challenges and brilliant long-range strikes.

Although he has already picked up 10 cautions this season in the Premier League - earning a two-match ban - he has been at the heartbeat of Fulham's impressive season.

Palhinha has netted four times for the Whites in all competitions, the latest of which came in the 2-0 FA Cup triumph over Leeds when he curled the ball into the top corner from distance.

He was also on target during a 3-2 west London derby victory over Brentford earlier in the season before netting in Fulham's 2-1 win over Southampton on New Year's Eve.

United are seemingly in the market for a partner in crime for Casemiro as they seek to sign an upgrade of Fred and Scott McTominay.

Erik ten Hag is yet to decide whether he will be landing Marcel Sabitzer permanently after striking a January loan deal with RB Leipzig.


Report: PL club simply don't believe their £50m player is going to leave them and join Arsenal

Fulham fans can breathe a sigh of relief as it appears Joao Palhinha will be staying at the club for at least one more season.

Indeed, according to GiveMeSport, Fulham are hopeful that the midfielder will stay at Craven Cottage for at least one more year.

The Portuguese midfielder joined the Cottagers in the summer and has been one of their standout performers this campaign.

Palhinha has been a revelation since his debut and has already made a name for himself as one of the most tenacious midfielders in the Premier League. No player in the league has made more tackles than the 27-year-old, and his performances have not gone unnoticed by some of the biggest clubs in the country.

Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United are just some of the teams that have been linked with Palhinha in recent weeks. However, Fulham genuinely believe they can keep hold of the talented midfielder for at least one more season.

Despite the interest from other clubs, Fulham are in a strong position when it comes to Palhinha's future. The midfielder is contracted to the club for four more years, meaning that the pressure to sell is minimal.

Of course, that could change if the player himself begins to kick up a fuss.

However, if Palhinha is to leave, he won't come cheaply, Fulham believe that he's now worth £50m, just a few months on from bringing him in for £17m.

Palhinha has become a key player for Fulham this season, and it's really hard to imagine where Fulham would be without him. The Whites have lost all three of the games he's missed this season, shipping 10 goals in the process.

The midfielder himself seems happy at Fulham, and his performances on the pitch suggest that he's fully committed to the club. While it's always possible that a big offer from a top club could turn his head, it looks like Fulham have a good chance of holding on to one of their most prized assets for at least one more season.

Arsenal may be waiting in the wings, but it looks as though Palhinha will be a Fulham player for a little while longer.


Fulham interest in signing revealed – Player can leave for 'a few million'

Fulham will be handed a second shot at PSV Eindhoven midfielder Erick Gutiérrez this summer, with the Dutch club happy to let him leave.

That's according to Eindhovens Dagblad, relayed by Voetbal Primeur, who say that there is a 'good chance' he will be moved on.

The newspaper explains that the Mexican midfielder is not guaranteed a starring role under manager Ruud van Nistelrooy, having been in the starting 11 in the league just 36% of the time this season and having featured in just 47% of the available minutes.

That's opened up the possibility he could depart, and he did have interest last summer, when Fulham and Espanyol were 'in the market' for him.

That's news to us as we've not seen Fulham linked before now but ED and their journalist Rik Elfrink are well connected when it comes to the Dutch club so if they say Marco Silva's side were keen then it's likely they were.

Whether they remain keen is up for debate, but its certain that Fulham will be keen to strengthen in the summer after an impressive campaign.

With a transfer fee likely only to 'reach a few million' Gutiérrez could be an easy addition, particularly with PSV happy to let him go.


"I was done with it" – Fulham player details his misery at the club, fell out with football

Fulham defender Terence Kongolo has revealed how he fell out of love with football after a series of serious injuries at the club.

Kongolo joined Fulham in a €4.4m deal from Huddersfield Town in October 2020 but would go on to make only four appearances for the club despite being there for two years.

That was thanks to a series of injuries, with the defender suffering from a fractured foot on his debut in February 2020.

That saw him spend 174 days on the treatment table and miss 18 games of the season, before fitness issues, an ankle injury and then Achilles tendon problems again saw him spending 209 days out injured.

He was then forced to undergo knee surgery in April 2021, just a month after returning from his previous issues.

That saw him spending another 157 days out of action, with Fulham eventually electing to send him on loan to French side Le Havre this season as he was not a part of Marco Silva's plans.

He's been working his way back with the Ligue 2 side this season and now admits he wants to put those very dark days in London behind him.

"As a substitute I got the chance and within ten minutes I broke my foot. I had to have surgery for the first time and was out for a long time.

"A few months later came the lockdown due to the coronavirus. In the end, it took seven months to come back," Kongolo explained to Voetbal Zone.

"I was allowed to start against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League. I felt like blazing, but immediately got seriously injured again.

"This time a serious knee injury. At that point I was really through it. I didn't want anything to do with football anymore. I didn't feel like a football player anymore and I was done with it. I didn't even want to watch it on TV anymore.

"I can hardly describe how difficult that period has been for me. I had so many things on my mind. I was just broken."

For now, Kongolo is only focused on getting himself fit and rediscovering his love for football after his difficulties at Fulham.

He's achieved that to some degree with Le Havre, managing to stay injury free and feature in 39% of the available minutes in Ligue 2 this season.

That loan deal does not include a purchase option for the French club, meaning he will need to return to Fulham once this campaign comes to end.

A more likely outcome is that he and Fulham elect to part ways, though, and he believes that will be presented to him in one way or another.

"Only God knows that," he added.

"I am confident that he will come up with beautiful things next summer, I leave it in his hands. I just have to show it on the field now, that's where my focus is.

"Nothing is certain in football. Fortunately, I still have many years to go, thank God for that too. What else do I want to achieve?

"I want to return to my old level, playing top football, in the highest leagues. Show myself I'm a fighter. More internationals? With God nothing is impossible. I am not a quitter."


Godo guides Fulham U21s into Premier League International Cup semi finals
In-form winger Martial Godo bagged another brace as Fulham under 21s reached the semi-finals of the Premier League International Cup by beating Sparta Prague 4-2 at Motspur Park last night.

Steve Wigley's side established a two-goal cushion before half time thanks to strikes from skipper Sonny Hilton and Luke Harris on the day that the teenager added a year to his Craven Cottage contract after being named in the Welsh senior squad. Although the Whites were rocked by a brilliant free-kick from Patrik Vydra, Godo's second half double secured a spot in the last four of the competition despite Vydra's second of the evening.

Fulham began brightly with Terry Ablade storming clear down the left but his venomous drive was superbly saved by Filip Nalezinek. The Sparta goalkeeper dashed off his line to deny Ablade again a couple of minutes after the forward was released by an excellent ball from George Okkas. Harris was next to go close as the hosts continued to pile on the pressure with the midfielder heading over a cross from the returning Matt Dibley-Dias.

The young Whites eventually broke the deadlock with a goal that owed more to route one than sophisticated. George Wickens belted the ball downfield and Hilton showed deft invention to drift inside his marker and fire into the net. The playmaker turned provider for an almost immediate second, supplying the perfect cross that Harris stabbed over the line – and suddenly it seemed a long way back for Sparta.

The visitors earned their lifeline just before the break when Vydra's astonishingly long-range free kick left Wickens clutching at air. They seemed to be on the front foot at the start of the second period, but Fulham made it 3-1 against the run of play. Hilton played a raking ball through the Sparta defence and, after displaying immaculate control, Godo strode forward and slipped an assured finish under Nalezinek. Godo got a second of the evening shortly afterwards, although his shot took a nick off a defender before roaring in the top corner.

Jay Williams was agonisingly close to adding a fifth before Vydra tucking in the rebound after his initial effort was well saved by the goalkeeper. Ablade was twice denied after that and Godo just lacked composure in stoppage time as he rued an opportunity to clinch a hat-trick.

FULHAM UNDER 21s: Wickens, Williams, Araujo, Tanton, Charlie Robinson, Godo, Harris, Hilton, Dibley-Dias, Okkas (Sanderson 79), Ablade (McFarlane 82). Subs (not used): Allen, de Jesus, Gofford, Gordon, Works.

BOOKED: Araujo, C. Robinson, Williams.

GOALS: Hilton (30), Harris (34), Godo (52, 53).

SPARTA PRAGUE: Nalezinek; Vydra, Vecerka, Hodous, Horák, Danek, Gedeon (Lehocky 45), Kastanek, Okeke (Jonas 45), Karabec (Mokrovics 70), Schanelec (Rus 70). Subs (not used): Tuma, Kukucka..

GOALS: Vydra (40, 71).


Oooh aaah, Edwin van der Sar
Ahead of Fulham's FA Cup quarter final at Manchester United on Sunday, it is perhaps timely that Dan has picked out Edwin van der Sar as the man whose goalkeeping performance lives long in the memory in his latest contribution to the BBC Sport 'One big question' series.

Asked to pick out a brilliant goalkeeping display or save, Dan has selected the big Dutchman's still scarcely believable clean sheet at Highbury against Arsene Wenger's Invincibles in November 2003. Arsenal hit 27 shots that afternoon in a game where Chris Coleman's side had their backs firmly against the wall, but van der Sar's heroics ensured Fulham hung on for a precious away point.

While it is a shame that the Whites weren't able to be as miserly at the back on Sunday afternoon against an awesome Arsenal side, I'm sure we'd all settle for something similar for Bernd Leno at Old Trafford in the Cup to see Fulham return to Wembley.


Fulham hatch plan to keep Marco Silva away from Tottenham

Fulham have reportedly hatched a behind-the-scenes plan to stop manager Marco Silva from potentially joining Tottenham.

The Lowdown: Conte leaving?
Spurs manager Antonio Conte is being heavily linked with leaving north London at the end of this 2022/2023 Premier League season.

Chairman Daniel Levy has the option to extend Conte's stay by a further 12 months with the Italian's contract expiring this year, but reports suggest that is unlikely at this stage.

Conte has been cryptic in regards to his future, stating to the press:

"The club knows very well what is my situation and they know what are my thoughts. We can't do miracles. If I am to take the people as a target. I am not this person. The reality is this.

"We'll see what happens in the future. I'm not stupid to kill myself. Until the end though I am ready to die for this club but then we'll see, I'm not too stupid to keep killing myself."

As such, Spurs are believed to have drawn up a managerial shortlist including the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Roberto De Zerbi, Luis Enrique, Thomas Tuchel, Thomas Frank and Silva.

The Latest: Fulham hatch Silva plan...
According to a report by Football Insider, as Tottenham target Silva to potentially replace Conte, Fulham have hatched a plan behind-the-scenes to keep him out of Spurs' clutches.

It is believed that the Whites are plotting to award 'heavy backing' to persuade him against leaving, coming amid their goal to tie him down with a new deal.

Indeed, Fulham will apparently hand Silva a 'significant' summer budget if he opts to remain at Craven Cottage, with his current contract expiring in 2024.

The Verdict: Exceptional manager...
After sealing promotion to the top flight last season, Silva has only took Fulham on leaps and bounds as they slowly put their reputation as a yo-yo club behind them.

They're still well in contention for a European-qualifying place, lying just five points behind fifth-placed Newcastle, and this is largely down to the job Silva has done.

Magpies boss Eddie Howe will be looking over his shoulder at Fulham and has even waxed lyrical over Silva to Sky Sports this season, stating: "I think Marco's been incredible this season, I think his team deserve a lot of credit."

Since last summer, Fulham have spent just £62 million, making their league position and status all the more impressive considering the financial firepower of their rivals.

Taking all this into account, it's hardly surprising Spurs have taken an interest.


Chelsea now face Manchester United battle in race for Portuguese midfielder

Manchester United join Chelsea in the race for the signing of Fulham's Joao Palhinha

Chelsea have indicated an interest in signing Joao Palhinha, although the club would face competition from Manchester United and Liverpool.

Records, (h/t Express), claim that United, Liverpool, and Chelsea are looking to sign and may make a move during the summer transfer window. Palhinha has been exceptional this season as Fulham aims to qualify for European competition. However, the former Sporting CP player has been tied down to a long-term contract (Transfermarkt).

The midfielder has drawn interest from several Premier League teams as a result of his performances with the Cottagers and he may soon sign with a major club. The 27-year-old has remained a regular starter at Fulham having appeared in 24 Premier League games recording three goals.

However, Fulham may find it challenging to retain the 27-year-old player for the upcoming campaign. Meanwhile, Chelsea should be looking to sign a defensive midfielder as the club has looked shaky from the centre of the pitch.

Injury to midfielders N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic and the departure of Jorginho has left Chelsea with no regular midfielders in that position for an extended period of time.

Nonetheless, the addition of Enzo Fernandez has helped re-establish some balance in the middle, but the Argentina international will also need time to adjust. He is a youngster, after all. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher, meanwhile, haven't shown anything to warrant regular starts, while Carney Chukwuemeka is still too inexperienced.

Palhinha might be a good option since he is thriving in the Premier League and could improve our defensive midfield. He is 27 years old, which indicates that he has plenty of experience and isn't too old. Just the level of experience we need around a number of youngsters in this team.

He is a shrewd ball-winning midfielder, who can lay a strong base in our midfield to let the attackers go up and do serious damage. He possesses excellent attributes as he never backs down from a challenge and is a fierce defender, frequently going into tackles to try to stop rival attacks.

He would also have acclimatised to London with Fulham and could be ready to take the next big step in his career. When Chelsea come calling, it can be hard for players to resist. Fulham and the Blues are neck-and-neck in the Premier League table this season but given our quality of players and investment in the team, we will surely return to the pinnacle very soon.

It's up to Palhinha to decide if he wants to join our project or not, if the Blues retain their interest in him until the summer. Manchester United, on the other hand, may not have too many openings in their midfield to offer Palhinha the same chances as we can, given the presence of Christian Eriksen, Fred, Scott McTominay and Casemiro.