June 20, 2024

West Ham identify Joao Palhinha and Denis Zakaria as Declan Rice replacements

West Ham are set to have a significant transfer budget when they look to replace Declan Rice this summer and have identified midfielders to target when their captain does leave.

 

João Palhinha - Complete Midfielder | 2023 - YouTube

 

The race to sign Rice continues with Arsenal and Manchester City battling it out for the England star, and while a deal has not yet been done it is expected to be completed in the coming days.

The Gunners put in an enormous bid worth £105m for Rice on Tuesday night and while the Hammers have rejected it based on the structure of the payments, it is thought that an agreement is close.

Manchester City could still swoop to beat their rivals to the 24-year-old, but either way, he will leave east London and West Ham’s transfer budget will receive a huge boost.

They may well want to improve other positions, but clearly West Ham will need a new central midfielder after losing the highly-rated England star.

Fabrizio Romano, for CaughOffside, reports that two names on their list of targets are Fulham’s Joao Palhinha and former Chelsea man Denis Zakaria.

Neither deal is near completion, though, with the report stating that a move for Zakaria is ‘not that advanced’ while Fulham are keen to keep hold of Palhinha after a great first season in the Premier League.

 

Chelsea make Denis Zakaria transfer decision which affects Edu and Arteta's  Arsenal summer plan - football.london

 

 

The 27-year-old arrived from Sporting last summer and was an impressive force as a holding midfielder, putting in comfortably the most tackles of any player in the top flight.

Remarkably, the Portugal international made 147 tackles in the Premier League last season, with Brighton’s Moises Caicedo his closest competition in that statistic, having made 100.

He is under contract at Craven Cottage until 2027 and Fulham would want a lot of money for him after such a strong start to life in England.

Zakaria spent last season on loan at Chelsea from Juventus and has now returned to the Italian giants, where he is not likely to be in the first team plans.

His spell in west London was not especially memorable, making 11 appearances in all competitions, scoring once.

 

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