West Ham have identified perfect replacement for Rice at rivals - Sources

By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

9th Jun, 2023 | 11:57am

Revealed: West Ham have identified perfect replacement for Declan Rice at rivals

West Ham have made Fulham star Joao Palhinha their top summer target as they prepare for life without Declan Rice, sources have told Football Insider.

A well-placed source has revealed that the Irons side believe Palhinha, 27, is the “perfect replacement” for their outgoing captain.

It is believed several other clubs are monitoring the Portugal international, with Aston Villa long-term admirers of the former Sporting CP star.

Football Insider revealed last month (6 May) that Unai Emery’s side joined European giants such as Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich in the race for Palhinha.

However, it is believed that top clubs have since cooled their interest in the midfielder and will now pursue alternative targets.

West Ham are gearing up for a busy summer transfer window following their Europa Conference League triumph on Wednesday (7 June).

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As quoted by the BBC (8 June), Irons chairman David Sullivan revealed he is “99% sure” club captain Rice will leave the London Stadium this summer.

Football Insider revealed on Thursday (8 June) that Arsenal could be days away now from completing a club-record deal for Rice which may be worth £92million.

Palhinha impressed at London rivals Fulham in his first season in England.

The Cottagers are hopeful of securing a huge profit on the midfielder after signing him from Sporting CP for a reported £20million in 2022.

He scored four goals across 40 games in all competitions and recorded some of the best tackling and interception stats in the Premier League.

West Ham will have Europa League football to offer potential arrivals following their Europa Conference League triumph in Prague.

In other news, West Ham and Everton in race to sign La Liga striker.