One year after failed bid, Bayern Munich finally signs Portugal midfielder Palhinha

MUNICH (AP) — A year after a high-profile failure to sign Portugal midfielder João Palhinha, Bayern Munich finally made the deal happen on Thursday.

Palhinha joins Bayern from English Premier League club Fulham for a reported fee of nearly 50 million euros ($54.2 million) on a contract through June 2028, the Bavarian club announced.

Palhinha, who helped Portugal to the quarterfinals at the European Championship, is the latest signing in a Bayern rebuild after the club’s first season without a trophy since 2012.

“Palhinha was highly sought after by FC Bayern even last summer, and rightly so. It was important that we never lost touch,” Bayern board sporting director Max Eberl said.” João really wanted to come to Bayern, and we need players like that. He’s an important building block for our future.”

Bayern seemed sure to sign the player last year and the midfielder even traveled to Munich for a medical but the deal — reportedly worth 65 million euros ($70 million) at the time — collapsed just before the end of the transfer window.

Thomas Tuchel, Bayern coach at the time, was keen to sign a more defensive-minded midfielder like Palhinha in a squad packed with midfielders like Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka who liked to make attacking runs into the opponent’s box. Two weeks after that, Palhinha signed a new contract at Fulham through the 2027-28 season.

Palhinha is the third new signing to be confirmed at Bayern since Vincent Kompany was hired as coach in May, after Stuttgart defender Hiroki Ito and Crystal Palace forward Michael Olise. Bayern has yet to sell any of its current first-team players in this transfer window.


AP soccer:

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