£37m United target subbed at half-time in potential last game after poor display

Sporting Lisbon

William Carvalho was woeful against Estoril at the weekend.

Manchester United are expected to be one of the busiest teams in the transfer market this summer, with names from across Europe being linked with moves to the club.

One area which needs obvious improvement is the midfield and many a name has already been mentioned as on the way to Old Trafford - in fact one such name was rumoured to be a done deal a couple of months ago.

The reports stated that United had agreed a £37 million fee with Sporting Lisbon for the 21-year-old - meeting his release clause.

It also claimed he had a tour of the Carrington training ground and would reportedly join up with his new team after the World Cup in Brazil - where he will represent Portugal.

But the news now is very different. Since David Moyes got the boot the interest appears to have cooled and the overtures from Lisbon are simple; they want to keep Carvalho and the player is not averse to staying.

In fact the club's president Bruno de Carvalho stated this week:

“There is nothing inevitable. I am almost certain, if not absolutely certain, that William will continue at Sporting. And seemingly pouring cold water on claims United had already done a deal, he added, “You never know when a club might appear and be interested in taking him by paying the release-clause. Now, William is very satisfied. He is happy and so are we.”

It would be quite a turnaround if Carvalho, who is also being linked with a move to Serie A champions Juventus, didn't leave after months of speculation that suggested he would definitely be on his way, and it would be interesting to see how happy he would be at any deal collapsing.

Because he certainly didn't look happy yesterday.

Sporting played their final game of the season yesterday against Estoril in the Liga Zon Sagres and lost 1-0. Carvalho was hauled off at half-time after what can only be described as an abject showing from the usually dynamic maestro.

His head might have been somewhere else, or he might have just had an off day - but it either way it was not his best night in Sporting colours.

Maybe he is wondering why United no longer seem to love him as much as they did when Moyes was in the hotseat.

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