Arsenal fans have so far been treated to plenty of riches with regards to the transfer market this summer, but Arsene Wenger needs to drive home their advantage and sign the last piece of the puzzle - William Carvalho.
Reports emerged on Sunday claiming that Sporting Lisbon had rejected an installment-ridden £24 million offer for their star midfielder, who has been dubbed the new Patrick Vieira by pundits around the world.
The 22-year-old has only emerged in the limelight in the last 12 months. His dominating performances in the Portuguese league last season attracted the interest from a number of clubs. Most notably, Manchester United.
Manchester United distracted
Throughout David Moyes' reign, journalists constantly claimed that a Manchester United scout had been spotted at a Sporting Lisbon match. They were only watching one player - Carvalho - and they sent back enough positive reports to convince Moyes to make a move.
In fact the Sunday People claimed that Moyes had told Sporting that he would meet Carvalho's release clause of £37.5 million. Needless to say, that never happened. Moyes was sacked and Louis van Gaal came in.
Since then interest has dwindled as Van Gaal chases his dream player Arturo Vidal. Should that move fail, it would be easy to see Old Trafford officials turning their attentions back to Portugal.
If Wenger has his way, if and when they do, they'll find their former target gone and playing in the red and white of Arsenal.
The perfect Arsenal addition
Unlike Vieira, Carvalho won't come cheap. Some reports claim that Sporting will be willing to accept Arsenal's £24 million, but insist on having all the money up front. That should not be a problem for Arsenal, who have already forked out almost £50 million to bring in Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy.
David Ospina is also reportedly close to agreeing a move to the Emirates, leaving Arsenal needing, arguably, just a defensive midfielder to complete their squad. Carvalho is not just a defensive midfielder, but a beast of the game.
Like Vieira, Carvalho has the ability to grab games by the scruff of the neck and drag them the way he wants. Of course the evidence gathered thus far has all been in the Primeira Liga. The Premier League will be a significant step up in quality but at 22, Carvalho has time on his hands to adapt.
As a bonus, Carvalho has also covered at centre-back for Sporting in times of need. Arsenal currently have three centre-backs with questions looming over Thomas Vermaelen's future. If he leaves, Arsenal will need a replacement. Otherwise Arsenal fans can expect to welcome Isaac Hayden or Julio Pleguezuelo to the first team as fourth choice. Carvalho could cover in exceptional circumstances similar to Alex Song.
Overtaking Manchester United
Many Arsenal fans would argue that they are already above Manchester United having finished fourth in comparison to United's seventh. But under Louis van Gaal, Manchester United are third favourites at 5/1 while Arsenal are fourth at 6/1.
The Red Devils are still considered a bigger club that Arsenal and rightly so. They have won 13 Premier League titles and one bad season is not enough to undo all that good.
But Arsenal signing Carvalho, to complement an already well-stocked midfield would put Arsenal's squad firmly ahead of Manchester United's. If Carvalho is even half as successful as Vieira he will prove an excellent acquisition for the next decade.
Along with a potent attack and a stocked midfield, Arsenal would only really be second to Manchester United in goal where David de Gea has proven to be a bigger talent than Wojciech Szczesny in recent years.
However, the Pole has himself showed excellent potential and only has to eradicate those rare lapses in concentration and judgment to reach the Spaniard's level.
Mikel Arteta has been a great servant for the club, but Arsenal won't win the Premier League with him protecting the defence. They need a young, strong, pacey talent to keep their title hopes alive. Signing him may not elevate them to the level of moneybags Chelsea or Manchester City, but they would once again have a better team than their old Premier League rivals.
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