West Ham face double blow as Aston Villa look to hijack move for Declan Rice replacement


West Ham are facing a tough situation, as Arsenal’s move for Declan Rice is progressing well and Aston Villa having identified ideal replacement Joao Palhinha as a top target.


That Rice is sure to move on from the Hammers this summer is obviously not ideal for them. Indeed, he’s been their best player for the past few seasons, hence interest in him from Arsenal and the like.


Given West Ham finished just six points clear of relegation this season, losing their best player will cause some problems. However, they’re not going to stand in his way, having “promised him he could go”.

Negotiations appear to be progressing well regarding his move to the Emirates. Transfer insider Fabrizio Romano has detailed how talks in recent days have been ‘positive’.

The Hammers will want to consolidate for Rice heading out of the door by snaring a good replacement. It’s been reported of late that Fulham’s Palhinha is one of the men they’re most keen on.


That’s since been reinforced by transfer insider Pete O’Rourke, but their potential move is in jeopardy.

Indeed, the insider told Football Insider that while the Hammers are keen on the Premier League’s top tackler from last season – who will cost between £50-60million – so are Aston Villa, among ‘several clubs’.


Villa have already added Youri Tielemans to the midfield that contains Boubacar Kamara, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey, and adding a solid defensive-minded player like Palhinha would round out that midfield very nicely.


Villa’s pull may be greater than West Ham’s, given they finished seven places above them in the league. The Villans’ seventh-placed finish secured Europa Conference League football for next season, but the Hammers’ triumph in that same competition means they’ll be playing Europa League football.

They’ll also likely have a lot of money to burn from the sale of Rice. It’s suggested he’ll command upwards of £90million, so they should easily be able to snare Palhinha and have some left over.


As such, while it would be act as a double blow if they lost Rice and then lost out on Palhinha, they won’t be too concerned yet, knowing that while Villa are a side on the up, they’ve got their own benefits to offer the star.






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