Fulham land top target Palhinha from Sporting
Fulham have completed the signing of Portugal international midfielder Joao Palhinha from Sporting CP on a five-year deal.
The newly promoted Premier League side are reported to have paid £20million (€23.2m) to sign Palhinha, with the contract containing the option of a further 12 months.
Palhinha, capped 14 times by Portugal and in contention to be part of their squad for the 2022 World Cup, had also been linked with Manchester United and Wolves.
But Fulham confirmed on their official website on Monday that the 26-year-old has become their first signing since earning promotion from the Championship in April.
Vice-chairman Tony Khan is delighted to have won the race for Palhinha, who had spent a decade on Sporting's books.
"Joao Palhinha has excelled in Portugal playing both club and international football. He's been one of our top targets in this window," Khan said.
"While there were other prominent clubs aiming to secure his signature, we're thrilled Joao chose to come here and that he wants to play under our great coach Marco Silva.
"We believe that Joao will be a valuable addition to strengthen the squad to compete this season in the Premier League."
Palhinha played 27 times for Sporting in the Primeira Liga last season and scored three goals from defensive midfield.
He has spent his entire career on Sporting's books, albeit with spells out on loan with Moreirense, Belenenses and Braga, making Fulham his first club outside of Portugal.
"I'm very glad to be here. It's a big opportunity for me, for my career, to play in what is – in my opinion – the best league in the world," Palhinha said.
"I've signed with a great club. The club wanted me, and I chose the club, so I promise the fans that I will do my best, and I hope we can win so many things in this season."