West Ham eye Manchester United and Liverpool target Joao Palhinha as Declan Rice replacement

West Ham are lining up Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha as a potential replacement for Declan Rice, talkSPORT understands.

The 27-year-old is believed to have a release clause in his Fulham contract, which he signed when he joined the Cottagers for £20million last summer.


Palhinha has been a key player for Fulham this seasonCredit: Getty

Hammers manager David Moyes, who is expected to stay at the club after their Conference League final triumph, is a big admirer of the Portuguese international.

Palhinha was linked with a summer move to Premier League rivals Man United and Liverpool in March.

Jurgen Klopp and co were reportedly keen on signing a Portuguese trio in the event Jude Bellingham wasn’t available.

The Reds shortlisted Palhinha, as well as Wolves pair Matheus Nunes and Ruben Neves as they look to bolster their ageing midfield, although they’ve now completed the signing of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton.

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Now though, it’s the Hammers that look set to go in for him.

Despite only being in the Premier League for a season, Palhinha won’t come cheap after making 35 league appearances in Marco Silva’s side’s run to tenth place.

However, West Ham’s bid for the midfielder will be heavily boosted by the fee they expect to earn from selling Rice.

Hammers owner David Sullivan exclusively confirmed to talkSPORT Rice would leave the club this summer the day after their Europa Conference League win.

The Hammers want to bring in Palhinha to help replace their skipper


The Hammers want to bring in Palhinha to help replace their skipperCredit: Getty

talkSPORT understands that the Hammers hope to spark a bidding war that could see them raise £120million, with Arsenal leading the race for him.

That leaves them with plenty of money to play with to help fill the Rice-shaped hole in their squad and get Palhinha to swap west London for east.

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