Mention Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon in the same breath and most people will automatically think of William Carvalho. After all, he is the midfielder they have reportedly been scouting for much of the season.
But another Sporting player has been tipped for a move to Old Trafford in the form of winger Carlos Mane; a player who reportedly had a £1million release-clause only to see that allegedly become a €45million clause when he signed a contract extension last August.
While that is quite a difference, Mane is beginning to prove what all the fuss is about. The 19-year-old scored the only goal of the game last weekend, to secure a 1-0 victory over Olhanense that kept his side in touch with league leaders Benfica.
And he was at it again on Saturday, scoring an 85th-minute winner to give Sporting a 2-1 victory away to Rio Ave.
A second-half substitute, Mane helped Sporting turn the game on its head after they had been 1-0 down with just 20 minutes to play.
Instead they took the victory, and in so doing they ensured they finished the day two points behind Benfica and two ahead of FC Porto – although they had played a game more than both.
In what is an increasingly tight title race in Portugal, Mane could prove the difference. After all, in just a week he has saved four points for his side, and those links to United do not seem as unexpected as some may have first thought.
image: © goulao