Sporting Lisbon have rejected a £24 million bid from Arsenal for their in-demand midfielder William Carvalho, reports Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.
The Portuguese international has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League this year, but most talk has has centred around a potential move to Manchester United.
Now Arsenal look as if they are ready to enter the race for Carvalho having contacted Sporting Lisbon to open the bidding at £24 million. However, Sporting officials are reportedly holding out for his full release clause of £37 million.
Tough tackling midfielder
Carvalho seemed to be a top Manchester United target while David Moyes was in charge but with Louis van Gaal, Arturo Vidal seems to be top of the wish list at Old Trafford. Both are very similar players, tough-tackling defensive midfielders. Arsenal and Manchester United are equally as desperate to strengthen that area of the squad.
Arsene Wenger seemed intent on signing Sami Khedira from Real Madrid, but a deal for the World Cup winner is only looking further and further away as the days go by. Reports suggested that Khedira has performed a dramatic U-turn and decided to stay at the Bernabeu. Others say he wanted a basic wage of around £150,000-a-week to become a Gunner.
Arsenal's pursuit of Carvalho makes it more likely that Wenger's interest in Khedira is over. However, whether the Frenchman will be able to stretch his budget to Sporting's £37 million asking price is another thing.
Manchester United competition
With Vidal closing in on a move to Old Trafford, Arsenal would seemingly be fee to negotiate a deal with Sporting for Carvalho. The 22-year-old is thought to be keen on a move to the Premier League, but whether he is willing to force a move is yet to be seen.
What is clear is that Arsenal have money to spend. They have already splurged £35 million on Alexis Sanchez and over £10 million on Mathieu Debuchy. Wenger has promised more signings are on the way, but hinted that a new goalkeeper is his priority.