By Dan Carter

15th Sep, 2023 | 9:10am

Joao Palhinha Fulham contract news could open path for West Ham to sign Scott McTominay

West Ham United’s hunt to replace Declan Rice this summer seemed to occupy the headlines of most newspapers for a majority of the transfer window.

Ultimately after weeks of no concrete updates, the Hammers moved to sign Edson Alvarez and James Ward-Prowse and have started the campaign in excellent form, sitting fourth in the Premier League with both of their new stars shining in the middle of the park for David Moyes’ side.

But before either of those players joined the ranks at the London Stadium, the Hammers made their way through several different midfield targets to no avail. The reported first name on their shopping list was Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha but the Hammers were deterred by his price tag (Fabrizio Romano, 27 July).

The Portuguese midfielder looked set to join Bayern Munich only for his transfer to fall through on deadline day, and now the Cottagers have announced that he has signed a new contract at Craven Cottage up until 2028.

While that would appear to prevent the Hammers from rekindling their interest in Palhinha, it may just allow them a free run at Manchester United’s Scott McTominay. The Hammers were interested in signing the Scotsman this summer and failed with an attempted £50million bid for both him and Harry Maguire (BBC Sport, 7 August).

Fulham had reportedly identified the United midfielder as a replacement for Palhinha should he have completed his move to Munich (Sky Sports, 1 September), but now that the midfielder will seemingly be staying in London, they are unlikely to be interested in McTominay in January.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

That should allow West Ham and Moyes a free run at the Red Devils’ man should they decide to reignite their interest when the window opens once again in January, especially as he is likely to be up for sale once again (Evening Standard, 6 September).

The Hammers may have decided that they have more than enough quality in the middle of the park following their impressive start to the season, but should they decide to enter the market for another central midfielder, McTominay may well be theirs.

Given the lack of forward options currently at the London Stadium, Moyes may be better off investing in his frontline when the window opens once more, but as he’s a known admirer of the Scotland international there could well be a chance he registers an interest once more.

In other West Ham news, Alphonse Areola’s weakness has been discovered as he’s declared position’s worst passer