Chelsea are attempting to hijack Manchester United's bid to sign Portugal international William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon. Reports in March claimed the Red Devils had a £37 million deal wrapped up, but last season's change in management at Old Trafford has thrown a spanner in the works.
Louis van Gaal, who replaced David Moyes as Manchester United manager, has given the club the green light to press on with plans to sign Moyes-target Carvalho. It's even been reported that club representatives have made their way to Lisbon with a view to completing the transfer.
However, according to talkSPORT, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has turned his attention to the holding midfielder after receiving a blow in the race to sign Juventus star Paul Pogba.
Mino Raiola: Pogba going nowhere
Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola, has confirmed that his client is content at Juventus and will not be leaving Turin this summer. Mourinho, subsequently, has turned his attention to his compatriot Carvalho, who celebrated his 22nd birthday in April.
Pogba would have cost around £60 million to sign - a new British transfer record - but Mourinho had convinced Blues' owner Roman Abramovich to part with the cash for arguably the best young central midfielder on the planet.
But with that deal now seemingly dead in the water, the Blues are now rushing in an attempt to stop Carvalho moving to Old Trafford, in the hope of luring him to Stamford Bridge instead.
Carvalho joined Sporting Lisbon's youth academy at the age of 13, in 2005, and made his first-team debut six years later. The touch-tackling defensive midfielder went out on loan to Fatima and Cercle Brugge before returning to Sporting in 2013 and cementing his status as an indispensable member of the first team.
Manchester United scouts watched the Angola-born star on numerous occasions throughout the 2013/14 campaign and were impressed with what they saw. But Chelsea hope to turn his head at the eleventh hour.
Carvalho: Scout report
Do Chelsea need Carvalho?
Chelsea have already splashed a significant amount of cash on acquiring the services of Spain international Cesc Fabregas, while Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic was brought to Stamford Bridge from Benfica in January. But the Blues' pursuit of Pogba - and now Carvalho - suggests Mourinho believes his midfield options need strengthening further in order to win titles next season.
Even though record goalscorer Frank Lampard has left the club, Mourinho still has the likes of Ramires, John Obi Mikel and Marco van Ginkel in his ranks. But Carvalho would be a significant upgrade in terms of quality.
Old Trafford move makes more sense - for Carvalho
Manchester United are in the process of rebuilding under Van Gaal. The Red Devils aren't in Europe next season, but Carvalho would almost certainly have more first-team opportunities at Old Trafford than he would at Stamford Bridge, where competition for places is fierce.
United forked out £29 million to sign Spain Under-23 international Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao last week, but there is still room for another top-level midfielder in the Premier League giants' ranks.
Could Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Marouane Fellaini or Darren Fletcher keep Carvalho out of United's starting line-up? It seems unlikely.
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