Manchester United will be eyeing a return to winning ways in the Premier League when they take on Southampton at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Erik ten Hag will be aware of the need for the team to cement their third position in the table while there are still two cup competitions to be won.
One major reason why United have failed to sustain a prolonged title challenge is because of the weak squad that the manager inherited.
While United are aiming to rectify the issue of a lack of goalscorers, there is also a major need to find an able backup for the signing of the season — Casemiro.
Casemiro alternative required
The Brazilian has been a revelation since arriving from Real Madrid and he has changed the midfield dynamics of the team instantly after years of anguish of watching the pair of Fred and Scott McTominay struggle against top opposition.
The team was crying out for a solid presence in the defensive midfield role and the Brazil international has proven to be the perfect fit, despite initial skepticism surrounding his move mainly due to his age and the fact that Real Madrid were willing to let him leave.
João Palhinha in the Premier League this season:
◉ Most duels won (191)
◉ Most tackles made (101)
A signing of the season contender and a huge miss for Fulham. 💪 pic.twitter.com/ZVYgqMgi6s
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 6, 2023
The Red Devils have suffered whenever Casemiro has not played, with the 31-year-old missing four games due to suspension. There are no adequate backup options for him.
And Ten Hag is looking for the perfect backup option ahead of next season so as to keep Casemiro fresh for the big games and not overburden him.
Fulham’s Joao Palhinha would be the ideal candidate with the Portuguese shining brightly since his move to Fulham in the summer.
Palhinha has made the most tackles among all midfielders in the top five European leagues and has been key to Marco Silva’s side chasing for a European place this season.
Palhinha chase on
The Sun have reported that while United are looking at doing a deal, it will not be easy considering the interest the 27-year-old is generating within the Premier League.
“Manchester United are eyeing Fulham star Joao Palhinha to beef up their midfield this summer. United, Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are all monitoring the Portuguese.
“But boss Marco Silva is determined to resist bids for the star. Fulham paid an initial £17million to sign Palhinha from Sporting Lisbon last year but his performances so far in this campaign will have more than doubled his value to £40m-plus,” the report mentioned.
Palhinha still has more than four years left on his contract, with Fulham having the option of adding another year. He has scored four times in 28 games across all competitions to further enhance his reputation.