West Ham have made Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha their “no.1 target” as they seek a replacement for West Ham captain Declan Rice, according to the Daily Mail.
The English tabloid claims that the Portuguese international has been “identified” as the man to come in and take Rice’s place in the starting line up.
Palhinha has had an outstanding first year in the Premier League, following his £20m move from Sporting Lisbon last summer. He has racked up the most tackles and interceptions of any player in the English top-flight across the course of the campaign and his performances have attracted the attention of many teams.
Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Manchester United have all been impressed with the 27-year-old’s form during his time at Craven Cottage.
Palhinha won’t be available on the cheap
If West Ham do want to secure the services of the midfielder, they may have to pay a sizeable fee, with reports suggesting that Fulham will demand as much as £60m.
Whether the Irons would be prepared to break their transfer record for Palhinha, it is doubtful, and it will be hoped that the figure could be negotiated down if talks are held.
West Ham are eyeing a number of other transfer targets
The Mail claim that the likes of Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips, Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay, Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse and Leicester winger Harvey Barnes are also on the club’s radar. Ajax’s holding midfielder Edson Alvarez is said to be another target, although the Hammers could face stiff competition from Borussia Dortmund for the Mexican international’s signature.
It is believed that the proceeds from the sale of Rice will fund the London club’s ambitious transfer plans this summer, with Arsenal expected to make a sizeable bid for the England international very soon.