The transfer is under threat after negotiations with Sporting stalled, with the two clubs £5m apart in their valuation of the Portugal international. West Ham thought their latest offer of £32.5m would be enough, having received assurances that Carvalho favours a move to the London Stadium, but they have grown frustrated with the Portuguese club.
Although West Ham are willing to break their transfer record to satisfy Bilic’s desire for greater quality in central midfield, senior figures believe that the goalposts have been moved and rate their chances of completing the deal at no more than 50-50.
Talks are continuing, however, and Bilic is hopeful that a compromise will be reached after receiving encouragement from those close to the negotiations. “It’s hard to be objective,” West Ham’s manager said. “But I am quite confident.”
With West Ham growing impatient, they have identified Sunderland’s Didier N’Dong as a potential alternative. However, Bilic indicated that he will not look at other midfield options if Carvalho slips through his grasp. “It’s too late for anything else, so no,” he said. “That’s it. But I hope we are going to get him.”
Carvalho, who has previously been linked with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, wants a fresh start after six years at Sporting. West Ham believe that signing him would represent a strong statement of intent and have enhanced their spending power by selling Ashley Fletcher, Sofiane Feghouli, Havard Nordtveit, Darren Randolph and Enner Valencia, with Robert Snodgrass another possible departure.
Bilic sees Carvalho as the perfect player to screen his defence and offer more control in the middle. “It’s the position we have been trying to do for a couple of seasons,” he said. “I feel we need someone to boost our team and quality. That’s why we also offloaded some players to get the budget for him or for another player in that position.
“The quality player and not the quantity one, a squad player. They are not easy to get, but we are doing our best and hopefully we will do it. We are not talking about boosting our squad but our game.”
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