Sporting Lisbon have begun to look at defensive midfield alternatives to William Carvalho in preparation of a potential summer transfer away from Portugal, according to O Jogo.
The 21-year-old has been watched by Manchester United scouts no less than 12 times this year and is a player who David Moyes is clearly interested in, leading to heavy speculation that we will make a move for him.
With the World Cup coming up and Carvalho widely tipped to be a starter for Portugal in the tournament, Moyes would be wise to move before the start of the tournament if he did want to sign him as prices would be inflated following the conclusion of the competition.
According to reports, Sporting are looking at 27-year-old Estoril midfielder Goncalo Lopes who has a €500,000 price tag on his head – a figure that falls some way short of the €45 million buy-out clause that Carvalho has.
That sort of profit would suit Sporting as although they are in a better financially now than in previous years, a windfall of that size would be great for them as they are still not in a strong financial position.
As well as Lopes, Academica midfielder Fernando Alexandre is another who has been touted as a possible replacement for Carvalho.
The rumours of Sporting lining up midfield candidates plays into United’s hands, as it places a cloud of doubt over Carvalho’s future as a Sporting player.