As a season to forget comes to a close at Old Trafford, Manchester United manager David Moyes finds himself under pressure to rebuild his squad in a quest to bring back the glory days.
With £27 million summer signing Marouane Fellaini failing to light up the United central midfield and fans’ hatred for Tom Cleverley ongoing, Moyes has reportedly turned his attention to Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho to be the new heartbeat of his side, according to the Sunday People (via James Boylan of the Metro).
The 22-year-old defensive midfielder has earned worldwide plaudits for the way he’s conducted himself in the Portuguese capital, attracting the attention of Moyes and Co., who were rumoured to be closing in on his signature.
Per Boylan's report, Carvalho has agreed to a deal with Manchester United that will see his £37 million release clause met and take him to Old Trafford before the World Cup begins in June.
Carvalho will represent Portugal at this summer’s tournament in Brazil, where his performances will likely increase his ever-growing list of suitors.
Unfortunately for Manchester United, though, Real Madrid have already joined the hunt to land the Portuguese star and could steal him from right under United’s noses.
As John Cross of the Mirror writes, Madrid scouts have been out to watch Carvalho in action for Sporting over the last few weeks and have made enquiries about him.
Real Madrid scouts travelled to Lisbon yesterday to watch William Carvalho, who has a buyout clause of €45M. (A BOLA) pic.twitter.com/uE2CkJfbsc— SocialRMadrid (@SocialRMadrid) April 14, 2014
Though the midfielder’s agent was rumoured to have been shown around United’s Carrington training ground recently, interest from Real Madrid will undoubtedly send Carvalho back to the career drawing board.
While Toni Kroos, Fabio Coentrao and Luke Shaw remain summer targets—according to Cross—losing the race to sign Carvalho will be a big blow to Moyes and United.
Though still a young man, Carvalho has all the qualities of a world-class midfielder. His expert movement and ice-cold composure make him a real thorn in the side of his opposition.
Similar to Michael Carrick, the Lisbon star prefers a five-yard pass to a blockbusting cross-field switch, but it’s his defensive tenacity and pace that separate him from the England star—impressively so, too.
However, United were dealt another blow after Portuguese newspaper Record (h/t 101 Great Goals) reported, "there have been suggestions in Spain in recent days, that Carvalho’s father would prefer him to head to La Liga."
With fellow Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo the undoubted king of Spanish football, Carvalho may have the perfect mentor to find a place under the wing of at Real Madrid as he aims to reach the top of the game.
However, following in the footsteps of the 29-year-old Galactico would mean a stop-off at Old Trafford before a move to the Bernabeu—something that Moyes would be eternally grateful for.
It’s no secret that Manchester United will be looking to make some big-money signings to turn their fortunes around for next season, but without the glamorous offer of Champions League football for whoever turns Manchester bound, the club may lose out on some of its most-wanted targets.