The midfield department at Bayern Munich has been short on numbers since the end of the summer transfer window. The Bavarian club sold Ryan Gravenberch to Liverpool on deadline day but failed to sign a midfielder to replace the Dutch international.
Thomas Tuchel has been eager to add a number six to the squad throughout the summer. After Gravenberch’s move to Merseyside looked certain, Bayern started working on a deal to fulfill Tuchel’s wish of adding a defensive midfielder to the squad. The Bavarian club had agreed a deal with Fulham to sign Joao Palhinha, but the transfer collapsed at the last minute due to the London club’s failure to get a replacement.
Palhinha was devastated after the move fell through, as he had completed all the formalities at Sabner Strasse. Bayern may look to revive a move for Palhinha in January, but they are not eager to pay a big fee for the Portuguese midfielder. It does look like they will face competition from a Premier League giant for Palhinha.
According to SportBild’s Christian Falk (need subscription), Bayern are aware of Liverpool’s interest in Palhinha. The interest from the Merseyside club has complicated things for Die Roten if they want to pursue a deal for the Portuguese international.
Fulham would ideally want a bidding war for Joao Palhinha, so Liverpool’s interest is good news for him. Die Roten cannot afford to indulge in a bidding war since they also need money to strengthen the defense in January. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Bayern decide against a move in the event of Liverpool’s interest in Palhinha becoming more concrete.
Bayern have been looking at other options for the number six position. They have been heavily linked with Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi. However, a move for the Spanish midfielder may materialize in the summer. The Bavarian club has also been linked with Borussia Monchengladbach’s Manu Kone.
Palhinha (28) is a much more experienced option than Zubimendi (24) and Kone (22), but Die Roten will be better served in the long term by going for younger midfielders. The Portuguese midfielder’s move to Bavaria will hinge on what Fulham want as a transfer fee in January.
Since adding a defender is a much more pressing issue in January, Bayern may park the plans to sign a defensive midfielder until the summer. With Kim Min-jae leaving for the Asian Cup, Die Roten needs a versatile defender (right-back and center-back) to strengthen the defensive department for the rest of the season.