Carvalho, 22, was born in Angola but is a Portuguese international, and featured for Paulo Bento's side at the World Cup in Brazil this summer after a superb domestic season. The defensive midfielder was dominant in Portugal, turning in a number of exceptional performances for Sporting Lisbon - attracting interest from a number of sides in the process.
Manchester United were the team most strongly linked with a move to sign Carvalho in the January transfer window, with a £37.5m release clause in his contract of particularly interest to former boss David Moyes. Now with Louis van Gaal at the helm at Old Trafford, the interest seems to have subsided slightly - and Arsenal should be the team to make them pay.
Reports in Portugal suggest that Sporting need to raise cash to fund some new signings, and the board have reluctantly taken the decision to cash in on their star player Carvalho. With this now common knowledge, it would be a surprise to see them land that £37.5m in his release clause, but they should still bring in at least £25m.
Arsenal were recently linked with a £24m swoop to sign Carvalho, and it makes almost too much sense for manager Arsene Wenger to make Carvalho his latest signing. Having landed right backs Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers, goalkeeper David Ospina and forward Alexis Sanchez, Wenger must now turn his attention to bringing in a natural defensive midfielder.
Carvalho is athletic, powerful, accurate in possession and reads the game far beyond his years; all attributes which would make him perfect for sitting in front of the Arsenal back four to protect Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, particularly with a deal for Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin looking unlikely.
There is still money to spend for Wenger, and landing a player who could become one of the top holding midfielders in the world in a few years would be a wise way to spend it, given Arsenal's crippling need for one in recent years. Signing Carvalho would be a huge statement of intent - and something that they could make United regret in years to come.