Arsenal fans have been handed another January transfer boost after Sporting Lisbon midfielder, William Carvalho, dropped a massive hint of where the future of his playing career might lie.
The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to the Emirates for what seems like a lifetime now, but rumours only increased today after he admitted of his “affection” for the North London club.
Arsene Wenger was heavily criticised towards the end of the summer transfer window for failing to dip into the transfer budget for a fresh central defensive midfielder, and instead put his faith in the young, yet promising Francis Coquelin.
However, with the Frenchman’s progression already hindered on the pressure to play week in, week out, Wenger is now on the hunt to bring in a top name to succeed the veteran duo of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini.
And that’s exactly where Carvalho steps in, having recently been named Player of the Tournament at the UEFA Under 21 Championships, the midfield maestro now has top-level football at the top of his wish list this Christmas.
Speaking to Portuguese newspaper, A Bola, the youngster was reserved when talking about leaving the club he has been with for over a decade, but went on to admit the opportunity of moving to the Premier League could be too much to turn down.
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. 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.
Playing as holding midfielder, Carvalho was a target for any one of the Premier League’s top clubs this season, but the £33million buy-out clause that came with the youngster was something managers found incredibly off-putting.
Instead, Arsenal’s title challengers went out into the market and found options in Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger at Manchester United, whilst Liverpool brought in James Milner and Chelsea stayed strong with Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel at the helm.
The Gunners will come under serious doubt to lift the Premier League if Coquelin gets injured, and with Arteta and Flamini failing to make the grade for a starting place, Arsene Wenger needs to get his scouting book out early this season.
But with a deal that currently runs out in 2018, the Portuguese international isn’t exactly on his way to becoming hot property any time soon, and any chance of a move to the Gunners will mean the board forking out a deal in the region of £30million.
At the end of the day though, it remains to be seen whether Wenger will go for a defensive player with a price tag that high, especially for a player who is yet to reach his full potential.
The Arsenal boss is more likely to go for an established player just short of their 30’s, someone who has got the ability to come in when needed and handle big games such as Champions League opposition.
Unfortunately in today’s market that player is something we’re all still on the search for, and if Wenger was to go for Carvalho there is absolutely no doubt he would provide fierce competition for Coquelin at the heart of our midfield.
Whether or not the Portuguese star is willing to give up being the standout man in the Primeira Liga remains to be seen, but for now Gunners fans should hold onto the hope of a January bid, because this certainly looks like a realistic target.