Joao Palhinha puts deadline-day pain behind him after £55million move to Bayern Munich fell through as his performance against Luton shows why the Cottagers are so glad he stayed

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

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

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

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

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 rather than later. 

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

Joao Palhinha put on an impressive performance as Fulham beat Luton on Saturday

Joao Palhinha put on an impressive performance as Fulham beat Luton on Saturday

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The Portuguese star's move to Bayern fell through on deadline day but it did not show

The Portuguese star’s move to Bayern fell through on deadline day but it did not 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 displayed the tenacity that must make him a joy to play alongside. 

Since his arrival last season, he has made 160 tackles in the Premier League. The next best are Everton’s Idrissa Gueye and Chelsea’s Moises Caicedo with 109 and 107 respectively.

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

‘When one of the biggest clubs in the world come in, the player wants to go and improve. It happened with Joao but I never had any doubts about his commitment,’ he said.

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

‘It was obvious. It’s not good enough (the officiating),’ said defender Mads Andersen. ‘It’s very frustrating, it’s a big thing and they should really have looked at it in the (VAR) room.’

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