Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho dropped a big hint over his future by admitting he a fan of the Premier League, and of Arsenal in particular.
The powerful defensive midfielder has long been linked with a move to England with both Manchester United and Chelsea believed to have considered bids in the past.
But it was Arsenal who were most strongly linked in the summer transfer window as Arsene Wenger looked to strengthen his options in the centre of the park.
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Eventually, Carvalho's €45million release clause put his suitors off and he remains in the Primeira Liga, but the 23-year-old has admitted that, if and when he eventually leaves Lisbon, Arsenal would be his destination of choice.
Speaking to A Bola, Carvalho said: "I am where I want to be right now, which is Sporting, but if I ever do leave then it's a sign that my work here was well done. I dream of winning the Primeira Liga here.
"I prefer not to say too much, but there is a club with which I’ve always been fond of: Arsenal. Because of Thierry Henry, a player with whom I have always enjoyed watching.
"Maybe this is why I look with so much affection to the Premier League."
The perfect replacement?
Francis Coquelin has been a revelation since emerging as a first-team option in January of this year, but Arsenal's other defensive midfielders – Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini – are both on the wrong side of 30.
Arteta, the captain, has been struggling for both form and fitness over the last year, spending much of last season on the sidelines with a serious calf injury.
Flamini proved he still has something to offer by scoring two goals against Tottenham Hotspur last month, but both he and Arteta may be released when their contracts expire next summer.
That would leave Wenger with a huge gap in his squad and Carvalho, who would provide excellent competition for Coquelin, may finally be considered a viable signing.
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