West Ham have reportedly opened discussions with Sporting Lisbon over the availability of midfielder Joao Palhinha.

Accoridng to Portuguese outlet Record, cited by Hammers News, the club have enquired to the Portuguese giants regarding a possible deal for the 24-year-old.

Palhinha is currently halfway through a two-year loan deal with fellow Portuguese side Braga, which could make any potential deal tricky for the Hammers.

Manuel Pellegrini has already added to his midfield ranks with the capture of Pablo Fornals from Villarreal, with defensive midfielders now high on his list.

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Palhinha, who has turned out 18 times for Sporting Lisbon, made 32 appearances for Braga last season and was an ever-present figure in their solid fourth-place Liga Nos finish.

Braga also have first refusal on the Portuguese midfielder, which could add to complications over a potential deal.

The Hammers have been linked with numerous defensive midfielders this summer, including Gary Medel, Isaac Hayden and Charles Aranguiz, so the club may well decide to make a move for Palhinha following their initial enquiry.

Four more holding midfielders West Ham could target