Quick links

Manchester United

£37m Manchester United target progress 'amazing' - Was 'invisible' at times last season

Sporting Lisbon

The rapid development of Manchester United target William Carvalho has impressed those who watched him regularly last season.

Manchester United's transfer pursuit of William Carvalho is no secret, with one tabloid even claiming last month a summer deal is done.

The central midfielder has been likened to Patrick Vieira, and at 21-years-old is seen as the right blend of physicality and skilfulness to replenish the ranks at Old Trafford.

Valued at £37 million by Sporting Lisbon, the midfielder is said to have been scouted by the Red Devils multiple times, and has recently become a full Portuguese international.

His rapid rise from promising talent to potential superstar has been a fascinating one this season, an integral part of Sporting's rise to second in the Primeira Liga.

This time last season, Carvalho was on loan at Belgian side Cercle Brugge, and the speed of his development since returning to Portugal has certainly shocked those who observed him there.

Portuguese newspaper O Jogo yesterday carried a report from Belgian journalist Niels Vleminckx who writes for the Nieuwsblade newspaper.

He commented: "In Belgium, there are very surprised people, I would say that an open mouth at this amazing change.

"Of course, when he was here, all we saw was a player with potential. In retrospect, the performances were positive up here, but now that we look back, it seems to me the time was not always well spent.

"At Cercle, William came to play as central defence, it's not his position, and other times he struggled, underwent phases of little form that should have been changed, then stopped by injury, but made ​​many good games,.. others, he was almost invisible."

The words are both encouraging and worrying for United. For his struggle in adapting to one league could indicate that a transition to the Premier League may not exactly be smooth for the 21-year-old.

United will hope the 'amazing' progression will continue to make Belgian jaws drop if they sign him, rather than nod sagely in recognition at what they see.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch