Manchester City to battle Liverpool for midfield target Joao Palhinha

Manchester City are set to battle Liverpool for the signature of Fulham's Joao Palhinha in the upcoming January transfer window.

There were rumours linking the midfielder with a move to Anfield during the summer but a deal never materialised.

In fact, the Portuguese was seconds away from joining Bayern Munich on deadline day, even having posed for photos in the club's kits, but the transfer collapsed as the Bavarians ran out of time to formalise the deal.

It's understood that Liverpool have kept a close eye on Palhinha though, with calls from supporters for the Reds to sign a new holding midfielder in the January transfer window.

The 28-year-old has been a revelation since joining Fulham in 2022, blossoming into one of the finest defensive midfielders in the country. However, he is likely to cost the Reds a small fortune, especially given he signed a new contract in September after his failed Bayern move.

The German champions still retain an interest in Palhinha with Thomas Tuchel's side light in central areas, but, according to talkSPORT, Man City will also contend for his services this winter.

Despite already having the best No. 6 in world football in Rodri, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Cityzens splash the cash on another central midfield option given how poor they have been without the Spaniard this season.

A move could also be facilitated by the expected departure of Kalvin Phillips, who has been linked with Liverpool himself, in the January window, although whether that will be a temporary or permanent deal remains to be seen.

The Reds could certainly use another body in midfield, although Klopp will be hopeful that Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic can return at the beginning of next year.

Palhinha may be a supremely talented individual, but it seems unlikely that Liverpool would splash a large fee - potentially £40-60m - on a player approaching 30, especially with Wataru Endo having been signed in the summer.

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