There seems to be a lot of interest coming from Arsenal and directed at the Primeira Liga of Portugal this season, with their latest transfer target being William Carvalho of Sporting CP, who is enjoying his breakout season with the club he grew up at.
The 21-year old was born in Angola, but he’s been in Portugal almost all of his life, and has been playing for Sporting since he was 13. He made his debut for the club in 2011, but only after a loan spell last season in Belgium with Cercle Brugge did he return to see his status upgraded.
He has appeared 14 times for the league leaders this season, scoring 2 goals. He made his debut for the national team in an official match (which means he’s now tied to Portugal for international reasons) this November.
Carvalho is a defensive midfielder who has a creative bone or two in his body. He has been on Arsenal’s radar since the beginning of the season, but reports from Portugal (Record) and the British tabloids suggest that Arsene Wenger is starting to become a lot more interested in the player and might be launching an offer very soon.
As with most top players in Portugal’s big teams, there is the second-owner problem. Sporting own only 60% of his economic rights, while another company, BES, own 40%. Carvalho himself is signed until 2018 and has a release clause that can be triggered for no less than €45 million.
Sporting have been forced to sell quite a few players in recent years to stay afloat, but they’ve been trying to hang on to their younger generation, believing in its talent and ability to challenge Porto and Benfica, which this season is proving to be quite right. Whether or not their financial woes will force them to sell another bright young star remains to be seen, but in all likelihood, even if Carvalho does leave, it won’t be this January.