WEST HAM are putting Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic top of their list to replace Declan Rice.
The Serbian midfield strongman has been priced out of moves to the Premier League in the past but is about to enter the last season of his contract in the summer.
And Hammers are hot on his trail, with boss David Moyes sending trusted spy Alan Irvine to watch him in action last week.
Milinkovic-Savic, 27, will have plenty of interest in the next window but he may now be in West Ham’s range as the bigger clubs seem to have overlooked him.
The powerful and skilful operator is a Moyes type and has similarities to Rice, who is likely to be sold at the end of the season.
Hammers expect a massive offer for Rice, who will be tempted by a super salary as one of the biggest captures around.
So Moyes is scouring the market for replacements.
West Ham are also watching developments with Kalvin Phillips at Manchester City.
The midfielder was not enthusiastic when they tried for him a year ago while he was still at Leeds.
But that may change if he wants more first-team football again.
Milinkovic-Savic joined Lazio from Genk in 2015 and has since earned a lot of interest across the continent.
Some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs have also been keeping tabs, with Manchester United posing as long-term admirers.
The Serbia international has amassed a total of six goals and eight assists in 30 appearances across all competitions this season.