West Ham to keep faith in Moyes, with plans for Palhinha and Barnes moves

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Tony Obrien/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Tony Obrien/Reuters

West Ham are increasingly likely to keep David Moyes as their manager and will back him by targeting Fulham’s João Palhinha and Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes this summer.

Moyes has been under pressure for much of the season and a change has been considered on several occasions. However West Ham have stood by the 60-year-old and they are leaning towards giving him another season after reaching the Europa Conference League final and winning their fight against relegation.

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Sources close to the board have been left with the impression that West Ham, who will qualify for the Europa League if they beat Fiorentina in the Conference League final on 7 June, will not be looking for a new manager this summer. Checks have previously been made on Paulo Fonseca, Brendan Rodgers, Graham Potter, Marco Silva and Ange Postecoglou as potential replacements for Moyes.

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West Ham have not made a final decision and there will only be full clarity once they have held talks with Moyes at the end of the season. But while there is disappointment at the side’s failure to push on in the league this season, particularly after a heavy spend on signings last summer, there is huge respect for Moyes’s achievements during his time at the club. The Scot has repeatedly stressed that he has a good relationship with the hierarchy.

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The focus is likely to switch to strengthening the side during what promises to be a challenging summer. West Ham, who want to bring in a director of football to fix their recruitment issues, are facing the prospect of losing Declan Rice. The midfielder is determined to leave and is a key target for Arsenal. Manchester United and Newcastle are also interested in Rice.

West Ham will hope to receive at least £100m for their captain but they will be left with a gaping hole in midfield if they sell the England international. One potential replacement for Rice is Palhinha, who has impressed for Fulham since joining them last summer. The Portugal international has stood out with his tough tackling and interceptions in defensive midfield and his form has caught West Ham’s attention.

Fulham bought Palhinha for £20m and they will not want to lose the 27-year-old. West Ham would need to spend big to buy the former Sporting Lisbon midfielder. James Ward-Prowse, who is expected to leave Southampton following their relegation, is another option for West Ham in midfield.

Moyes will also be keen to strengthen on the left wing and West Ham have registered an interest in Barnes. The 25-year-old has a valuation of at least £50m but he could be cheaper if Leicester are relegated on Sunday, when West Ham are the visitors to the King Power Stadium. Aston Villa are also interested in Barnes, who has scored 12 goals this season.