Arsenal are hoping to agree a deal to sign Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho this week. The Gunners are poised to hold talks with the Portuguese club’s president, Bruno de Carvalho, who is currently in Manchester attending the annual Soccerex convention.
De Carvalho planned to use this week’s event in Manchester to generate interest in Sporting’s prized asset, whose £37 million release clause expired at the end of the transfer window, and he appears to have been successful in his efforts.
Arsenal in pole position to sign Carvalho
A host of high-profile footballing figures have attended this year’s Soccerex, including Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre and Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs, but Arsenal appear to be in the driving seat to sign the powerful holding midfielder as things stand.
The Gunners were tipped to sign Carvalho in the final weeks of the transfer window, but the deal failed to materialise, with Arsenal not prepared to pay the player’s astronomical release clause or even Sporting’s £28 million asking price.
Carvalho was quizzed over his future on deadline day by Portuguese newspaper A Bola, to which he confirmed that he is currently happy to stay put at the Estádio José Alvalade.
“I am under contract with Sporting and I’m a Sporting player,” he said. “There is no way I can say I am going to leave. I am fine at Sporting.”
Sporting desperate to raise money
It’s understood that Sporting are now desperate to raise funds and will consider negotiating with Arsenal with a view to concluding a deal when the transfer window re-opens in January.
Anything less than £28 million would be a real coup for Arsenal, who require a first-class holding midfielder to enhance their chances of winning silverware this season.
The Gunners were linked with the likes of Sami Khedira, Lars Bender and Morgan Schneiderlin over the summer months but, as with Carvalho, failed to sign any of them.
Carvalho has been compared to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira on numerous occasions over the past 12 months because of the obviously comparisons between their playing styles. The 22-year-old is strong in the tackle, good on the ball and capable of dominating matches.
This was the reason why David Moyes was so keen to bring the midfielder to Old Trafford this summer. A £37 million deal to make Carvalho a Manchester United player was in place, but the transfer was cancelled after the Scot was sacked and replaced by Louis van Gaal, who revived the club’s interest in the player months later.