Scout Report – William Carvalho

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Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho has been one of the best performers in the Portuguese League so far this season.

And as a result the 21-year-old has attracted attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Juventus.

United appears to be particularly interested in the youngster. According to Portuguese football website A Bola, the club has sent scouts to no less than seven matches to watch the promising Portuguese international.

Carvalho is a product of Sporting Lisbon’s famous academy which has produced many of Portugal’s greatest players, most notably Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. He spent last season on loan in Belgium with Cercle Brugge, where his career started to take off.

This past summer he impressed Sporting’s new manager Leonardo Jardim in the pre-season, earning himself a regular spot in the starting XI. The Angolan-born Carvalho has played in defensive midfield behind two attacking midfielders this season.

His main attributes are his physical strength, tackling ability and reading of the game, which should make him an attractive player for Premier League clubs. He also has a strong aerial ability, having scored several goals already this season with headers.

In the English media, he has been most often compared with former Arsenal defensive midfielder Patrick Vieira. But Carvalho has shown an ability to link up with his teammates well and also complete some difficult passes, which are rare qualities for a defensive midfielder.

Carvalho’s manager at Cercle Brugge, Foeke Booy has said that he has the potential to play further up in midfield as well.

“He is a powerful box-to-box midfielder, a player with enormous personality. I thought at Cercle, he was a player who was capable of great heights and it is only natural that he is doing the same thing at Sporting Lisbon,” Booy told Portuguese website O Jogo this summer.

Cercle Brugge’s sporting director Ivan van Damme told Portuguese online publication A Bola in July that he is technically gifted and compared him to Manchester City’s Yaya Touré.

“He made great progress playing here [Cercle Brugge]. He is very strong, could play in every position in midfield, highly skilled and very capable physically,” van Damme said.

“He has qualities that are very similar to Yaya Touré, but has one key advantage. He is very young and will only continue to get better.”

Portugal manager Paulo Bento has shown some great faith in him as well. Carvalho recently received his first cap with the Portugal national team in their World Cup qualifying playoff match against Sweden.

Carvalho came in for former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles in the 73rd minute of play with the two clubs tied 2-2 on aggregate, although Portugal was ahead on away goals. He would make several key clearings inside the box, helping Portugal eliminate Sweden.

Carvalho has been a key player for a resurgent Sporting Lisbon side that has struggled over the last few years. They are currently on top of the Portuguese League, tied on points but ahead on goal differential. In December, Carvalho was named the best player in Portugal’s Primeira Liga for October and November.

But any club who wants the promising midfielder will likely have to pay a fair share for him. Despite Sporting’s recent financial trouble, the club’s new president Bruno de Carvalho has demonstrated an ability to stand firm and get a good price for his young players.

Liverpool paid a reported £8million (€9,5 million) for central defender Tiago Ilori this summer. The club also received another €10 million from Galatasaray for winger Bruma.

Carvalho signed an extension with the club in July that expires in 2018. The deal includes a €45 million (£37,5 million) release clause.

By : @futebolfactory

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