In a modern age in which scouts being present at a particular football fixture appears to have become significant sporting news, David Moyes' apparent interest in a certain emerging Sporting Lisbon midfielder cannot have gone unnoticed.
William Carvalho, who is clearly enjoying something of a coming-of-age season with the Portuguese outfit, is clearly on the Premier League champions' radar and has now apparently been scouted by the Red Devils on at least eight occasions.
Earlier today, a potential Manchester United move for the 21-year-old appeared perhaps even more likely with Sporting having supposedly identified a cheap alternative in the form of Goncalo from Primeira Liga rivals Estoril.
While this of course does not suggest that any Manchester United bid for Carvalho is imminent, given that the club have seemingly watched him so frequently and the fact that his current club have seemingly lined up a replacement - coupled with previous rumours of a possible summer bid - suggests something could well be in the offing.
Carvalho is clearly a talented youngster, of that there is little doubt.
Sporting boss Leonardo Jardim has evidently invested a lot faith in him and he has rewarded that belief with a number of typically robust displays at Estádio José Alvalade.
Manchester United, whose wretched 2013/14 campaign to date under David Moyes sees them drifting in seventh place in the Premier League seemingly without a hope or a prayer of launching themselves back into the race to defend their title.
With Darren Fletcher having only recently returned from a debilitating illness, summer signing Marouane Fellaini having missed a large chunk of the season through injury and Michael Carrick proving surprisingly ineffective, it is painfully clear that Manchester United need to improve their options in the heart of midfield.
While a move for Carvalho could prove beneficial, the major stumbling block would appear to come with his fee. Little has been suggested from what I can see that Sporting have set a specific asking price for his services, so from this are we to assume that they are looking to recoup the full extent of his £37.5 million buyout clause?
If so, then Manchester United would be absolutely crazy and, frankly, stupid to oblige and pay such an exorbitant amount.
While a promising individual, for such a vast sum Moyes would surely be expecting to receive a more accomplished and experienced talent who would instantly command a starting berth at Old Trafford with no need to settle in and learn the ropes.
It is of course possible that Carvalho would take to Premier League football immediately - but that is an awful lot of money to gamble on someone who has no experience whatsoever of playing in one of European football's biggest leagues.
If Carvalho can be prised away from Sporting for a sensible fee then Manchester United should pursue him as his potential is vast - evidenced by the fact he was trusted by Portugal to make his international bow during the second leg of their successful playoff tie against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden.
However, if it takes £37.5 million to complete any deal then they should stay well away and invest more time and funds into more experienced midfield targets.
This summer's transfer window is for Moyes to prove to increasingly irritated supporters that he is capable of operating successfully in the transfer market when he has significant funds at his disposal.
What it certainly is not, is a time for the Scot to risk enormous sums of cash on players who may or may not develop into stars of the future.
What are your thoughts on Carvalho? Should Manchester United sign him this summer? Is he work his buyout clause?
Let us know with a comment below...
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