The World Cup group stage is over, and many players have caught the eye with their impressive displays ahead of the transfer window.
Group G saw Germany predictably run away with the group, claiming top spot with two wins and a draw, but the United States coming in second place ahead of Ghana and Portugal was something of a surprise. Ghana were embroiled in a row over bonus money which saw Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari sent home, whilst Portugal struggled throughout as Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't carry them through.
There were some great performances in Group G, most notably from Germany forward Thomas Muller, who hit four goals in the group stage, as well as the previously ineffectual Premier League midfielder Jermaine Jones and former Fulham hero Clint Dempsey as the drove USA in to the last 16 – but Manchester United should be looking to sign a Portuguese youngster.
New manager Louis van Gaal has already snapped up Southampton left back Luke Shaw and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, but there will surely be even more signings on the way – potential with another midfielder coming into be the long-term partner for Herrera in the United engine room.
The most likely player to fill that role appears to be Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho, who has reportedly been a target for United for over six months. Reports this week suggested that a delegation had travelled from Manchester to Portugal in order to tie up his signature, with the 22-year-old wanted to work as an enforcer alongside the more technically gifted Herrera.
The Angolan-born midfielder enjoyed a superb season with Sporting, and continued that form into the World Cup with a dominant second half display against USA. He plays far beyond his years, directing players around him and breaking up play in front of the back four – something van Gaal places great emphasis on in his Netherlands team in the shape of Nigel de Jong.
It may take a bid of over £30m to land Carvalho, but having shown his ability on the world's biggest stage, he could well be worth it – and United would be landing another player who could be a fixture of the team for years to come, alongside Shaw and Herrera.