Soccer

Marco Silva admits Fulham success will lead to interest amid Joao Palhinha links

Joao Palhinha has been linked with a move away from Fulham (Mike Egerton/PA)
Joao Palhinha has been linked with a move away from Fulham (Mike Egerton/PA)

Marco Silva admitted it is inevitable that bigger clubs will be interested in Fulham’s players in the wake of the club’s success last season, but would not be drawn on reports Joao Palhinha is set to join Bayern Munich.

Palhinha, who scored a late equaliser in last weekend’s draw against Arsenal, trained with the team on Thursday morning ahead of their trip to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Reports in Germany have claimed a deal has been agreed in principal between the player and the Bundesliga champions, but the west London club would not confirm the midfielder is about to be sold ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline.

Should Palhinha move to Germany, it would leave limited time to find a replacement for a player who was critical to the side’s successful first season back in the Premier League during the previous campaign.

He featured 35 times in the league as Fulham finished 10th and almost matched their top-flight points record.

Silva said the club had players in mind as possible replacements but would not commit to mentioning names, nor would he shed light on Palhinha’s future, beyond hinting that ultimately it would be decision made jointly from a financial and technical perspective.

“I won’t make any comments about the situation of Joao, there is nothing new to say to you,” he said.

Palhinha is a reported target for Bayern Munich
Palhinha is a reported target for Bayern Munich (John Walton/PA)

“It’s the business part of the football club; the people that are taking care of that are doing their job, I’m doing my job as well to work for the football club. Anything can happen in the next 36 hours.

“We made a fantastic season. Of course, you receive some offers for the players. Probably it’s the first time this club are receiving so many offers and big offers for players. That means what we did, (is what) people are looking for.

“Now it’s up to us on the financial side to take decisions and in a technical point of view for me to decide if I receive the OK from the club.

“I will not mention players from other clubs. It doesn’t make sense really. If we expect to lose a player like Joao or I can mention other players who are really important for us, of course we should have a replacement be ready to come and help us because we are talking just two days (left) in the market.

Marco Silva
Marco Silva has seen his team take four points in the Premier League this season (Adam Davy/PA)

“I’ve said in the last few weeks as well, we sold (Aleksandar) Mitrovic (to Al Hilal) and it’s difficult to replace in the striker position. I’m doing my job, it is (my job) to try to give solutions if the club decides to sell any player from our squad.

“We sold a number nine and it’s not easy to go for the number nine market. What I can promise our fans is that we will go for players if I feel they can be good additions for us and they can add something for our club and our squad.

“Signing players just to sign players for more numbers, we are not going to do, even if you’re short in numbers, like now.”

Fulham have been heavily linked with a move for Everton’s Alex Iwobi, who Silva previously signed when he was manager at Goodison Park.

Werder Bremen striker Niclas Fullkrug, who played for Germany at the World Cup in Qatar last year, has also been linked as the club seek a replacement for the departed Mitrovic, who scored 14 Premier League goals last season.

Fulham are in the hunt for Aleksandar Mitrovic's replacement
Fulham are in the hunt for Aleksandar Mitrovic’s replacement (Richard Sellers/PA)

“If no one leaves our club; we have to add a left-back, another midfielder, another forward player,” said Silva. “It’s clear we need it in terms of depth and to be more competitive.

“I would like to have news for you because it would be good for me as a manager and for our fans because they know the reality as well.”

Silva also confirmed the club are trying to agree a new contract with Harrison Reed despite reported interest from Wolves for the midfielder.

“He’s an important player for us,” he said. “If he wasn’t important, he wouldn’t be playing almost all the games since I joined. We have to add players and not lose players right now.”