Liverpool could find ‘ready-made’ Fabinho replacement in ‘£40m’ West Ham target after five-year deal signed

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The Portuguese midfielder could be perfect for the Reds.

West Ham launched a late-night £40m bid for Fulham’s Joao Palhinha in the wake of the latest reports surrounding Liverpool’s Fabinho, who looks set to leave the club this week.

The Hammers are targeting a midfield replacement for Declan Rice, who left to join Arsenal on a five-year contract in a deal worth £105m - which was a British transfer record - and they have appeared to turn their attention to the Portuguese international.

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For Jurgen Klopp, the prospect of both Fabinho and Jordan Henderson leaving in this window was unexpected but now looks possible with the pair the subject of interest from sides in the Saudi Pro League. The German manager left the Brazilian midfielder out of his squad for the pre-season tour of Germany amid a £40m bid from Al-Ittihad.

Following that, talkSPORT have reported West Ham had moved for Palhinha on Sunday night, submitting a bid of the same value. They are looking to consolidate their Europa Conference League victory at the end of last season and have plenty of funds to work with as a result of Rice’s departure.

For Liverpool, allowing the quartet of Naby Keita, James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave will certainly free up some capital in their wage structure, but with no other recognised defensive midfielder, other than the 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic, it stands to reason we’ll see another signing in that area.

Palhinha, 27, was an integral part of Fulham’s top-half finish last season and he stood head-and-shoulders above all players in the league when it comes to tackles completed; his 147 total was 47 clear of Moises Caicedo in second-place, and 50 ahead of Everton’s Idrissa Gueye’s in third.

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Tall, composed on the ball and a brilliant midfield screener, he could be a ready-made replacement for Fabinho, who did receive his fair share of criticism last season. He could easily slot into Klopp’s 4-3-3 formation and be vital for helping to battle against counter-attacks, as well as allowing for his midfield partners to press higher - a role that Fabinho has played brilliantly over his time at the club.

In the wake of the potential sale of Fabinho, the likes of Romeo Lavia, Ryan Gravenberch and Sofyan Amrabat have all been touted as potential replacements. There’s also other options that include Benfica’s Florentino Luis, who has impressed in Portugual in recent seasons.

Man City midfielder and ex-Leeds United man Kalvin Phillips has also been linked.

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