Manchester United are set to submit an official bid for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho, according to reports in the Portuguese media. United have tracked the 22-year-old for months now and were thought to have agreed a deal for the midfielder back in April soon before David Moyes was relieved of his duties and ushered through the exit door at Old Trafford.
The former United manager and his scouts watched Carvalho almost 20 times last season and the club looks set to open talks with Sporting Lisbon for the youngster, who was one of the standout players in the Portuguese league last season and who has attracted interest from a host of European clubs, including Barcelona, Arsenal and Chelsea.
According to reports on Portuguese newspapers O Jogo and Record, United are expected to table an official offer in the next couple of days, with Sporting Lisbon thought to demand around €30m (£23.9m) for the 22-year-old, considerably less than the £37m Carvalho would cost according to reports in the British press.
A defensive midfielder with good feet and physically imposing – at 6ft 1in Carvalho cuts a menacing figure in the middle of the park – the Sporting Lisbon man has emerged as one of European’s football most coveted prospects after a breakthrough season with the Lisbon club during which he established himself as a pivotal figure for Sporting and collected 33 appearances in all competition, dislodging former Sporting’s captain Fabian Rinaudo from the starting XI.
His performances at club level earned him his first full Portugal cap in the second leg of the World Cup playoff against Sweden and the 22-year-old made his World Cup debut in the second half of Portugal’s 2-2- draw against the USA, before playing the full 90 minutes against Ghana as Paulo Bento’s men were knocked out of the tournament.
Dynamic and athletic despite his imposing physique Carvalho, who has been compared to Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic by Portuguese football journalist Jan Hagen, is widely tipped to become one of the best in the world in his role and with United desperate to add some much-needed steel to their midfield the young Portuguese could be the perfect partner for Ander Herrera.
Carvalho’s young age, however, could also count against him, were Louis Van Gaal to decide United need a more experienced player to anchor their midfield – Nigel De Jong has often been mentioned as a possible alternative over the last ten days – but considering the Dutch manager’s reputation for developing youngsters, Carvalho could well be on his way to Old Trafford this summer.