William Carvalho's £37m Premier League move is very much on according to Sporting Lisbon director Augusto Ignacio, who was happy to concede in a message passed on this morning by Goal.com that the Portuguese giants are preparing for life without their midfield enforcer next season as negotiations continue over his summer exit.
Manchester United and Chelsea have been consistently mentioned in connection with the 22-year-old, who is easily one of Europe's most talented young stars thank to a unique mix of physical presence and technical quality.
Sporting have harnessed the Portuguese international's talent and believe their efforts deserve a whopping £37m reward when their starlet is inevitably eventually sold, but Ignacio believes that lofty release clause has ensured his side are well protected and have the upper in hand in ongoing talks.
Sporting hold the cards
Ignacio made Sporting's strong stance clear to the club's official television station, with quotes relayed by Goal.com declaring: "It's not like the old days when players left Sporting at any price.
"We are not concerned with William Carvalho because we have alternatives, who will want to play as well.
"The termination clause ensures a great deal to Sporting. I am very pleased with the negotiations.
"It is not easy to negotiate for players, you need to be very shrewd but Sporting have a president who knows how to negotiate with anyone and what is best for the club."
United in pole position
Red Devils fans are probably bored of hearing about United's long-term pursuit of Carvalho, who has now been tracked by Old Trafford scouts for more than 12 months.
Carvalho is an immense talent worth pursuing though and United boss Louis van Gaal clearly agrees, deciding that United should continue talks to try and bring a dynamic central midfield alternative to the club.
Van Gaal has a sterling reputation for getting the very best out of young talent and despite an eye-watering fee could do just that with Carvalho, who only got a very fleeting chance to strut his stuff at the World Cup during Portugal's ill-fated campaign.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho is another man who has shown interest in bringing Carvalho to the Premier League and was linked with a move to hijack United's talks for the starlet less than 24 hours ago, but Chelsea look fully stocked in his position for the time being.
Mourinho agreed a deal to re-sign Portuguese veteran Tiago on a two-year contract last night and also has Nemanja Matic, Ramires, Jon Obi Mikel, Cesc Fabregas and Marco van Ginkel on his books to name just five of his stat-studded midfield options, which leaves room to develop Carvalho with first-team opportunities.
Van Gaal means business
United are moving quickly get a more energetic, fresh squad ready for the challenge of restoring former glories and Carvalho seems to fit the mould, a similar kind of addition to recruits already made during the close season.
More than £50m has already been spent to bring Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw to Old Trafford, which proves United are not afraid to pay a premium if they feel a top talent is available.
Carvalho would also cost probably more than an acceptable market valuation for a six-cap international, but his potential is vast and with that in mind don't be surprised to see United move to get this deal done before the start of next season.
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