Manchester United once again sent scouts over to Portugal to watch William Carvalho in action for Sporting Lisbon as they took on rivals Benfica tonight, MaisFutebol confirmed.
The 21-year-old midfielder has previously been scouted by United following his burst onto the scene this season and helped Sporting to a brilliant start to the league, where they are in second place just three points behind leaders Porto.
We asked freelance journalist and Portuguese football specialist Jan Hagen how he played in Sporting’s dramatic 4-3 loss in the derby against Benfica tonight for some insight into how he played.
“William played a decent match tonight against Benfica and played an important part in Sporting’s second half comeback from 3-1 down,” he said.
“He plays an extremely important part in this Sporting team as a whole. He has got strength, passing and tackling skills.
“At the moment, only Porto’s midfielder Fernando is better in Liga Sagres. William seems very mature and humble and was recently rewarded with a call up to the national team.”
For someone who has only just broken into Sporting’s first team, Carvalho has an extortionate release clause in place but Hagen believes he is very much worth it.
He continued: “William signed a new contract with Sporting not long ago and he was given a €45m release clause. Jorge Mendes is his agent which would help any move to Old Trafford.
“His only problem is his pace. He runs a lot but lacks acceleration. However, he covers it up with real football intelligence with his positioning and movement.”
Youtube videos should never be taken for gospel as to showcasing the true ability of a player but his midfield performance in Sporting’s loss against Porto showed what his game is all about.
His passing was flawless and he grabbed a goal for good measure too. At 21, he looks very accomplished already and has an excellent all-round game.
United didn’t fare too badly when the last time they splashed out on a coveted youngster from Lisbon in Cristiano Ronaldo and the fact that we have repeatedly sent scouts out to watch him shows that we are certainly interested in him.