For much of last season, Manchester United were linked with a move for Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho.
The defensive midfielder had an outstanding campaign in Portugal, with David Moyes reportedly sending his scouts to watch the 22-year-old upwards of 15 times.
Anyone who has seen William play knows just how good he is and that he is ideal for United’s midfield. In fact, he would probably be the closest thing United have had to Roy Keane since the Republic of Ireland international left Old Trafford.
With a reported €45million release-clause, William was never going to come cheap. But the regular scouting trips and reported interest suggested United were close to securing a quality midfielder with the ability to grow into one of the very best in world football.
And then Moyes was sacked…leaving the William rumours consigned to the past, replaced by talk of Kevin Strootman and the like. And as much as the Dutch international would be an impressive addition at United, if they miss out on William they will be missing out on a future superstar.
Louis van Gaal is not yet the manager of the former champions, but it would be one hell of surprise if he is not in place in due course. But if the reports are true that he has no interest in bringing William to United, he could be making the first big mistake of his Old Trafford career before he even has his feet under the table.
One of Europe’s biggest clubs will sign the Sporting player in due course, and they will benefit from an outstanding defensive midfielder who is also capable of scoring a goal or two.
That club should be United; it was seemingly going to be United. But with talk that their interest has cooled following Moyes’ departure, a player who would have added steel and energy to the club’s lacklustre midfield could be the most regrettable one-that-got-away for many a year.