The midweek press landed not one, but two haymakers on the chin of Manchester United in revealing that Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan had agreed to extend his stay at the Westfalenstadion and Southampton had rejected the Red Devils’ opening offer for Morgan Schneiderlin.
It’s widely recognised Louis van Gaal hopes to sign at least one of the pair this summer as he looks to fill out his depleted holding-midfield department.
Now it’s certain the former won’t be joining the Old Trafford outfit, while it’s going to take a sum of money way beyond the initial valuation to land the latter.
More bids for the Frenchman can be expected, but there’s no need for Man Utd to be held to ransom when a player of greater pedigree is available.
Sporting Lisbon, a club whom the Red Devils have done plenty of business with in recent seasons, stock hyped midfield destroyer William Carvalho and it is he whom they should avert their attention to following their latest recruitment setbacks.
The colossal 23-year-old was recently anointed best player of the 2015 European Under 21 Championship, despite missing a penalty in the final as Portugal went down 4-3 in a shootout, with his performance in the semi-final destruction of Germany underlining his brilliance.
An imposing physical presence, the Angolan-born anchorman boasts rapid pace and a deftness of foot that render him the exact brand of player Van Gaal requires to elevate his midfield into that of a title-winning side, a feat which is currently priced at 21/4.
Such qualities don’t come cheap, as Arsenal found out when trying to sign Carvalho last term.
The Gunners were rebuffed after refusing to meet Sporting’s demands for his full release clause of £37m to be met before doing business, though a change in circumstances may have softened their negotiation stance.
It wasn’t until the previous winter of 2014 the Portuguese capital club acquired the entirety of his playing rights, meaning they’ll now receive 100% of the money generated from his inevitable sale and aren’t in a position where only an astronomical figure will see them turn a fitting profit.
Reports indicate that any offers for Schneiderlin must be in the region of £25m before being accepted and it’s difficult to envisage Carvalho costing much more.
At 25, the French schemer is older than his roughhousing Portuguese counterpart, but has much less experience of both continental and international football, while he lacks the fear factor that makes his alternative a far more worthwhile acquisition.