West Ham eye Fulham's Palhinha as top target to replace Declan Rice

West Ham eye Fulham’s Joao Palhinha as top target to replace Declan Rice – while Kalvin Phillips, Scott McTominay, James Ward-Prowse and Harvey Barnes are also of interest following Conference League triumph

  • West Ham are keen to replace Declan Rice with Fulham’s Joao Palhinha
  • The Hammers are also exploring the availability of other midfield targets 
  • TRANSFER NEWS LIVE: Follow all the latest developments throughout the day

West Ham are keen to bring in Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha to replace Declan Rice, who is expected to complete a move away from the London Stadium following the club’s Europa Conference League win.

Confirmation of the club’s swift about-face to this summer’s transfer business came in chairman David Sullivan’s comments on Thursday, where he said they had to ‘get a replacement – or several replacements’ for their wantaway captain.

Mail Sport understands that Palhinha has been identified as the No 1 target after impressing in his debut campaign in south London. The Portuguese international anchored a robust Fulham midfield and led the league with 147 tackles last term.

Despite the Cottagers only parting with the £20million required to bring him to the club 12 months ago, West Ham remain confident of their ability to pry him away from their London rivals.

Elsewhere, Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips is another name in the frame. The Hammers have a long-standing interest in the 27-year-old, who they bid £50m for in January 2022 before he left Leeds for City in the next window.

Joao Palhinha was outstanding in his debut campaign, registering a league-best 147 tackles

West Ham are exploring the availability of Kalvin Philips (left) and James Ward-Prowse (right)

Harvey Barnes opened the scoring in a win for Leicester against West Ham on the final day 

Despite only starting two games during the 2022-23 Premier League season, the 27-year-old is keen to stay in Manchester and fight for a starting berth next year.

Across town, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay is also being looked at to fill the void left by Rice’s departure. The Scottish international found game time hard to come by in the latter months of the season under Erik ten Hag. 

Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse could be available at a reduced price following the Saints’ relegation to the Championship, his availability will also be explored in this window. 

As will Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes, though there is interest in the winger from Aston Villa. 

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