Joao Palhinha puts deadline-day pain behind him with performance

  • Joao Palhinha’s £55 million transfer to Bayern Munich on deadline day fell through
  • Fulham were unable to find a replacement in time, although the star was welcomed

On deadline day, Joao Palhinha flew to Munich for medical treatment and to sign for Bayern Munich in a deal worth £55 million. It fell through after Fulham failed to sign a replacement in time and Palhinha returned to London.

It spoke volumes for his character that when his name was announced at Craven Cottage for his first Fulham appearance since, the ovation was warm and appreciative.

‘I can’t lie. It was a tough week for me and my family, but I don’t want to think about that anymore,” Palhinha said after a typically determined performance.

The 28-year-old signed a new contract on Thursday, committing his future to the Cottagers until 2028, but Bayern and others will return sooner or later.

Fulham turned down a £45m bid from West Ham for Palhinha in July and he was also of interest to Liverpool in the summer.

Joao Palhinha put in an impressive performance on Saturday as Fulham defeated Luton

The Portuguese star's move to Bayern fell through on deadline day, but it was not noticeable

The Portuguese star’s move to Bayern fell through on deadline day, but it didn’t show

Palhinha’s performance against Luton – beaten by a goal from substitute Carlos Vinicius (right) – was a reminder of why he is so highly rated, as he showed the tenacity that must make playing with him a pleasure.

He has made 160 tackles in the Premier League since arriving last season. The next best are Everton’s Idrissa Gueye and Chelsea’s Moises Caicedo at 109 and 107 respectively.

Marco Silva, who signed Palhinha from Sporting Lisbon for £20m last year, understood why the player wanted to leave.

‘When one of the biggest clubs in the world comes in, the player wants to improve. It happened with Joao, but I never had any doubt about his commitment,” he said.

As for Luton, it was another defeat, but their best performance of the season. Rob Edwards’ side missed three glorious chances and should have been awarded a penalty when Harrison Reed fouled Carlton Morris.

‘It was clear. It’s not good enough (the referee),” defenseman Mads Andersen said. “It’s very frustrating, it’s a big thing and they should have looked at it in the (VAR) room.”

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