Manchester United are said to have opened talks with Sporting Lisbon over the summer transfer of William Carvalho, but they could see negotiations halted over a lofted fee.
Ian Ladyman and Riath Al-Samarrai of the Daily Mail report talks between the clubs and a potential stumbling block:
Manchester United have opened talks with Sporting Lisbon about signing holding midfielder William Carvalho.
The Portuguese club value the Angola-born player at €35million (£29m) but United feel he is worth around £4m less. But with the Premier League champions wanting to conduct most of their transfer business before this summer’s World Cup, they may have to offer more than their valuation.
Carvalho has also acknowledged the likelihood of securing a mega-money move to Old Trafford. He believes the club is a viable destination at the end of the season, but is refusing to rule out a transfer to another continental giant, as reported by Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports:
It could be Manchester United or Real Madrid. It's just nice to have a great European club after me, but at the moment I'm just totally focused on Sporting and doing my best until the end of the season.
At the end of the campaign, we will see what happens.
United have needed to significantly strengthen their midfield across the past few years. Although the arrival of Marouane Fellaini threatened to do this, the Belgian behemoth has only just started to show signs of form for the Red Devils. At the mere age of 21, Carvalho boasts all the attributes of being a world-class addition to the club's holding midfield contingent.
Is William Carvalho worth £29 million?
Standing on the cusp of 6'2" and possessing a bulky frame, Carvalho isn't limited by his size. Much like Yaya Toure at Manchester City, his powerful frame ensures he is mobile, athletic and capable of dominating by presence alone.
Tom Kundert of the Mirror has followed the player's progress in Portugal this season and lauds the Portuguese international as a world-class talent:
"When I watch him I am left with the same impression I got when watching the young Angel Di Maria, Hulk or Joao Moutinho burst onto the Portuguese football scene," writes Kundert. "This is a very special player."
Carvalho has racked up 21 appearances for the Liga Sagres outfit this season, helping the team to second place behind annual powerhouses Benfica, per WhoScored.com. Currently two points clear of Porto, the hulking midfielder's ability to break up possession and shield his defence has been a major part of Sporting's play.
Should the club that produced Cristiano Ronaldo finally break up the Benfica-Porto top two, Carvalho's price could skyrocket. After all, if Sporting secure a Champions League place, he would throw away a stint in Europe to join United, who are unlikely to qualify for next season's tournament.
David Moyes is likely to pay top dollar for any of his targets during the summer. The world knows United need a quick blast of improvements to get back on track and could hold the club to ransom.
Even so, Moyes would be foolish to miss any opportunity to land the Angola-born star.