West Ham United have made Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha their top target as they seek a replacement for Declan Rice, according to the Daily Mail.

The Hammers are ‘confident’ they can land the Portuguese international for around £40m after lifting the Europa Conference League in Prague this week. There are no further details in the brief Mail report – and this seems optimistic in the extreme from the West Ham sources who have briefed Mail journalists Kieran Gill and Tum Balogun.

Palhinha, who enjoyed an outstanding first season in the English top flight after being reunited with Marco Silva at Craven Cottage following a £17m move from Sporting, said as recently as last weekend that he was very happy at Fulham, who have him under contract for a further four years with another twelve-month option. The 27 year-old led the Premier League in tackles last term and the Hammers would probably have to pay closer to the £100m they have been demanding for their departing captain to tempt Fulham into a sale.