William Carvalho addresses transfer speculation amid United rumours

Coveted midfielder, a long-time target of Manchester United, has declared loyalty to his club just hours after his apparent replacement was signed.

Tenacious defensive-minded midfielder William Carvalho, 22, is one of the most in-demand prospects in world football as Monaco, Real Madrid, Internazionale, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been press-linked with a move for the coming-of-age Sporting Lisbon star.

Coming from the same conveyor belt of footballing talent as Cristiano Ronaldo and Hugo Viana, Carvalho - a member of Paulo Bento's 23-man Portugal squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil - has a maturity that belies his years as he shows fantastic composure on the football, does the simple things expertly and is renowned for his tackling ability, pace and his striking of the ball.

United were not perturbed by his hefty valuation of £30m and, while the negotiating process with Sporting may have been arduous a deal could have been made, however, discussions with the player himself may be slightly more problematic.

Carvalho is quoted to have said, via a translator who freelances for the FIFA World Cup magazine, "My future is set. I’ll return to Sporting Lisbon after the World Cup."

He continued: "I’m a Sporting player until 2018 - everything else is just speculation."

The news comes as something of a transfer shock as, just yesterday, it was revealed Simeon Slavchev, heralded as the Bulgarian Frank Lampard, has been acquired by Sporting on a five-year deal - something that was regarded to be a sign that Lisbon were 'planning for the future' - a future without Carvalho.

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