Sporting Lisbon in talks to sign Abdullahi Shehu

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Sporting Lisbon are reportedly in talks over a possible deal to sign Abdullahi Shehu - a move that would appear to provide a timely boost to Manchester United's pursuit of Portuguese international William Carvalho.

Carvalho - who enjoyed an extremely impressive 2013/14 campaign in the Primeira Liga - has long been linked with a potential switch to Old Trafford and now, according to reports from The Daily Express, Sporting's move for Shehu is likely to allow the £37 million-rated midfielder to finally join the Red Devils.

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Currently plying his trade with Nigerian Premier League champions Kano Pillars, 21-year-old Shehu made several appearances for his country at youth level before being called up to the senior squad earlier this year.

Having represented the Super Eagles at the 2014 African Nations Championship in South Africa, he unfortunately missed out on this summer's World Cup campaign after Stephen Keshi left him out of his final 23-man squad for the tournament in Brazil. 

A move to a reputable European club such as Sporting could presumably improve his chances of more regular international football, although Carvalho's impact at the Estádio José Alvalade was so positive that he will need to adapt very quickly indeed if he is to have a chance of performing to anywhere close to the consistent standard.

Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer news

Carvalho to Old Trafford?

Manchester United's rather desperate need to upgrade their options in central midfield has been painfully apparent for some time now, with several members of the current squad having badly underperformed during the hugely disappointing and morale-sapping 10-month reign of former boss David Moyes.

Carvalho was believed to be a key target for Moyes during his time at the helm, although it appears that Louis van Gaal - the Scot's more reputable replacement - is just as keen to see him move to the Premier League.

A robust and physical presence, Carvalho certainly has all the physical attributes to succeed in the top-flight, although Manchester United fans could perhaps be forgiven for harbouring slight concerns over his lack of experience at the highest level.

Portugal manager Paolo Bento is clearly a fan of the 21-year-old, however, having taken him to the World Cup alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Moutinho.

While Carvalho only started one match - the 2-2 draw with the United States of America - during what was a hugely disappointing tournament for Portugal, his mere selection shows just what high regard he is already held in back in his native country.

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