Sporting Lisbon president Bruno de Carvalho will use the Soccerex conference in Manchester to generate interest in the Portuguese club’s prized asset, William Carvalho, who was strongly linked with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the summer.
This is according to a report published by Portuguese newspaper Record, which states that a number of high-profile footballing figures are believed to be attending the conference, including Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre and Manchester United’s assistant manager Ryan Giggs.
De Carvalho is scheduled to conduct a lecture at the event this week, but will use the rest of his time holding talks with potential suitors about a potential big-money move for the 22-year-old Portugal international.
Carvalho was expected to join United
Carvalho was expected to join Manchester United for £37 million - his release clause, which expired at the end of the transfer window - but the deal was cancelled when David Moyes was sacked as the Red Devils’ manager.
United’s current boss, Louis van Gaal, resurrected the cub’s interest in the powerful holding midfielder on arrival at Old Trafford, but a transfer failed to materialise.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid were also keen to sign the Sporting Lisbon youth product - a deadline-day move was even mooted - but nothing was concluded, with the Portuguese club holding out for one of the interested clubs to activate the player’s huge release clause.
Arsenal tabled late bid; Chelsea also keen
The Gunners reportedly tabled a £21.3 million offer for the midfielder, but this still fell short of Sporting’s reduced asking price of £28 million.
It’s believed that Sporting will seek a similar figure for Carvalho, who has made six appearances for the Portugal national team, when the transfer window re-opens.
And the club’s president will use the next couple of days to test the waters and attempt to lay some of the groundwork for a potential transfer to finally happen.
Which club needs him most?
Manchester United may have failed in their attempts to sign Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, but Van Gaal still addressed the club’s frailties in the central-midfield position.
The Dutch coach splashed out a combined £103 million on Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria - the three players expected to occupy United’s three central midfield positions after the international break - and may now be less inclined to go back for Carvalho.
However, Carvalho is a very different type of midfielder to aforementioned trio, which is why Arsene Wenger was keen to bring him to the Emirates Stadium last month.
The midfield enforcer has drawn comparisons with Patrick Vieira thanks to his physicality, and Arsenal still lack this type of player.
Chelsea, though, could go back for Carvalho if Mourinho decides his compatriot would be an upgrade on John Obi Mikel, who would need to leave Stamford Bridge in January in order for the Blues to beat United and Arsenal to the Portugal international’s signature.