Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho is widely reported to be on the radar of Arsenal, but it is a Manchester United player who he owes much in his career.
The Portugal international has been at Sporting since he was 13 years of age and is now a first-team regular, but during his early days at the Lisbon outfit, he was under the wing of Nani.
‘When I was 13 I played for Sintra against Sporting’, Carvalho told the Champions Magazine. ‘When they called me, I didn’t hesitate. When I came to Sporting they put me on the phone with Nani, who had been in the first team for a year or two.
‘He told me what he had gone through to reach the first team. He said that Sporting was a team that relied on their youth education and, as a Sporting fan, I had Nani and Miguel Veloso, who I also admired, as an example’.
Carvalho enjoyed a breakthrough season at Sporting in 2013-14 and was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal in the summer transfer window.
The 22-year-old is rated as a hugely promising defensive midfielder, and the Gunners’ lack of a player of similar quality saw them linked with a bid for the youngster.
United were also reported to be interested, but nothing concrete materialised. There are suggestions that Arsenal could make a move for Carvalho again next summer.