Manchester United step up chase for £20m Sporting starlet

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Manchester United would appear to be stepping up their interest in Portuguese midfielder William Carvalho.

According to reports in the Daily Mirror, the Premier League champions have now dispatched scouts to watch the Sporting Lisbon starlet on six different occasions.

21-year-old Carvalho, a product of the Lisbon outfit's own youth setup, has established himself in the first-team under Leonardo Jardim this season and also attracted significant praise for the maturity and tirelessness of his recent performances.

Carvalho, who spent last season on loan in Belgium with Cercle Brugge and is reportedly rated at around  the £20 million mark, has even seen his efforts rewarded with a senior cap for Portugal by Paulo Bento during last month's World Cup playoff second-leg tie against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden.

Whether Manchester United do intend to make a firm offer for the player is unclear. However, what is beyond doubt is that David Moyes - who has come under increasing pressure of late with his side losing consecutive league games at Old Trafford without mustering a single goal - desperately needs to strengthen his midfield.

While there is unquestionably a chronic lack of creativity emanating from the middle of the park, Manchester United's current squad is also largely devoid of a robust defensive presence to negate the threat of opposition playmakers.

Carvalho, who operates chiefly as a defensive midfield presence at Estádio José Alvalade, could well be the box-to-box engine that the Red Devils require.

Due to his youth and relative inexperience, though, it would be more than a touch foolish to assume that he is the only midfielder being targeted by Moyes and his staff.

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