Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho has revealed his ‘affections’ for Arsenal while suggesting he would be open to a move to the Premier League one day.
The Portugal international had been linked with the Gunners, as well as Chelsea and Manchester United before Arsene Wenger decided to place his faith in Francis Coquelin without pursuing another holding midfielder.
The 23-year old’s £33-million buy-out clause in his contract appears to have put off clubs, although his current deal expires in 2018. Before then, Carvalho, who was named best player at the UEFA Under 21 Championship is hoping to win the Portuguese league title with his club.
Carvalho in a recent interview to Portugal newspaper A Bola has spoken of his fondness for Arsenal and club legend Thierry Henry in particular.
“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,” he told A Bola. “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.”
Carvalho, who has developed into a key player for both club and country, has a contract at Sporting till 2018, and has a reported release clause of €45m.
Many Arsenal supporters still believe the club need to sign another outfield player, having also decided against a move for Morgan Schneiderlin before he joined Manchester United, after only bringing in former Chelsea keeper Petr Cech in the summer.
Meanwhile, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has admitted he needs to toughen up after being displaced by Theo Walcott in the starting line-up.
Walcott was named man-of-the-match in arguably Arsenal’s best performance of the season in defeating Manchester United – and also scored for England against Estonia during the international break.
Premier League giants Manchester United were linked with a move for the Portugal midfielder, but it seems the Red Devils’ interest in him have died down.
United have signed two central midfielders in Morgan Schneriderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger this summer, and it is unlikely they will make a fresh approach for Carvalho anytime soon.
Carvalho is a highly talented midfielder, but very few clubs in Europe would be willing to dish out €45m for his services. There are other quality players around at that price so unless Sporting drop down Carvalho’s transfer value it’s really hard to see big European clubs making a move for him.
Wenger has kept huge faith on young Francis Coquelin in the holding midfield role, but with Flamini and Arteta not getting any younger, it remains to be seen whether the Arsenal boss is willing to spend big money on Carvalho next summer.
Arsene Wenger has still many options to the midfield and it seems he is not much interested in 23-year-old Portuguese midfielder.