Exclusive: Arsenal Pursuing Joao Palhinha as Aston Villa Sets Asking Price for Douglas Luiz

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Arsenal have begun eyeing a deal for Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha following Aston Villa’s stance regarding a move for Douglas Luiz, FootballTransfers have been told.

Luiz remains Mikel Arteta’s first-choice option as the Spaniard seeks to sign a new defensive midfielder in January, but Aston Villa are insistent that he is not for sale.

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As exclusively revealed by FootballTransfers in early December, Unai Emery’s side are demanding a whopping £110 million (€128m) for the Brazil international and this huge asking price has seen Arsenal turn their attention to Palhinha.

The Portuguese international was on the verge of joining Bayern Munich during the summer window, but the move collapsed on Transfer Deadline Day and he signed a new deal at Fulham in mid-September.

The former Sporting CP midfielder is now contracted to the Craven Cottage club until 2028.

Joao Palhinha, Fulham
– Joao Palhinha, Fulham

However, an exit is on the cards in 2024, with Bayern set to pursue his signature once again. But, we understand that Arsenal have now joined the race to sign Palhinha and the Gunners have spoken internally about the possibility of signing the Fulham star during the January window.

It’s believed that a fee of around £50m (€58m) would be enough to seal a deal for Palhinha – significantly less than what Luiz would cost.

Palhinha to leave Fulham?

The Fulham man had his heart set on a move to Bayern this summer and is still hoping to join Thomas Tuchel’s side next year, but he could be enticed to the Emirates in January with the allure of a Premier League title challenge.

Arsenal are currently second in the English top flight table, just one point behind league-leaders Liverpool after 16 games.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea have all been linked with a move for Palhinha too after his impressive debut campaign at Fulham last year. The 28-year-old midfielder made 35 league appearances for the Cottagers, scoring three goals, as they finished 10th in the Premier League table.

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