Man Utd transfer boost in Ruben Neves race with Wolves closing in on Sporting Lisbon ace Joao Palhinha as replacement

WOLVES are closing in on signing Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha.

The Portuguese international – who is a new client of super-agent Jorge Mendes – was originally holding out for a bid from Manchester United.

Wolves have agreed a deal to sign Joao Palhinha

Wolves have agreed a deal to sign Joao PalhinhaCredit: Getty

Palhinha arriving at Wolves could mean Ruben Neves will be sold this summer amid links to Manchester United

Palhinha arriving at Wolves could mean Ruben Neves will be sold this summer amid links to Manchester UnitedCredit: Getty

Palhinha was even considering waiting until after his country’s Nations League fixtures were over on June 12.

But with interest from Old Trafford failing to materialise, SunSport understands the 26-year-old has agreed to join Wolves with the move expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

The fee is believed be around £20m on a long-term deal, with Mendes leading the negotiations.

Wolves boss Bruno Lage has been a huge admirer of Palhinha for years and sees him as the perfect replacement should £50m-rated Ruben Neves leaves the club.

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Ironically, it is United who are eyeing up Neves having sparked fresh interest in the player following failed attempts to nab him from the midlands in the last two transfer windows.

New boss Erik ten Hag is a big fan of Neves, 25, as he hopes to start his new dynasty in Manchester with a top signing to bolster his midfield.

However, Barcelona are also looking to swoop for the Wolves playmaker, and could lure him to Spain with the promise of Champions League football next season.

Neves’ current contract runs out in 2024 but has stalled in signing an extension – another player that Mendes is involved with, as well as Lage.

Dutch coach Ten Hag has other midfield options he can pursue, including Barca’s Frenkie de Jong and Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz, but Neves is high up on his list for this summer.

Transfer target De Jong revealed this week that he has heard the rumours linking him with a move to Old Trafford and he refused to deny claims he has spoken to Ten Hag.

United are prepared to offer the Dutchman £350,000 a week to entice him away from Barcelona, though it could take a £65m fee to land the 25-year-old.

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