One of the primary aspects that Manchester United have missed this season is a midfielder at the centre of the field who can control the tempo of the game and have the poise to dominate the opposition. Carrick used to do this once, but this term he is nowhere near his usual best.
In such a situation, they again need a player who can call the shots at the centre of the pitch and give the oppositions a tough time breaking the defence. And thus they have looked into Sporting Lisbon player William Carvalho and in fact the report from Mirror says that Manchester United have wrapped up the signing of the Sporting Lisbon for £37 million and the player will move to Old Trafford after the World cup.
Carvalho is being regarded as one of the most talented defensive midfielders around at the moment. The 21 year old player is a Sporting youth product and has played a crucial role for the club in recent times. Making his debut for the club in 2011, he has spent two spells on loan at other clubs to become a first team player this season.
Now this kind of money for an unproven talent may draw ire from many quarters, but Carvalho has already shown traits to justify the price tag that is associated with him. Let us take a look at some of the strengths of the Portuguese wonderboy and the reasons that he has become a hot topic in the football world.
Carvalho’s ideal position on the pitch is the lone defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation where he gets the freedom to operate from such a deep position. The first thing that needs to be said about Carvalho is his immense physicality and the fact that he can bulldoze the attacking players of the opposition teams.
He stands tall at 6 feet 1 and is firmly built. It is hard for the number 10’s to get past him, courtesy of his massive structure. Add to that his ability to read the game and always be in position when the opposition team attacks. This makes him comparable to some of the renowned players of this era such as Sergio Busquets or Fernandinho.
Carvalho’s attacking instincts are not as smooth as his defensive capabilities and thus he is not in the Yaya Toure mould, but he more than makes it up with his knack of dropping down deep and being a shield in front of the centre backs. More often than not, his introduction in the game has made opposition attacks look toothless and Carvalho has done his job like a vacuum cleaner, cleaning up the numerous attacking moves hurled towards his direction, making him a certain Vieraesque to say the least.
He may not be as astute a passer as some of the legends of the game like Xavi or Pirlo, but his cross field balls are handy for his team going in the chase or counter. It is certain that with age, his forward movement would develop and overall game would improve, making him one of the most feared midfielders of the generation. Although he may not be a Toure or Fernandinho, but obviously an upgrade to the ageing Carrick with a potential to go on and become a world class player.
Now coming back to the question, is that kind of money justified for Carvalho? Maybe not at the moment, but United would certainly not repent three years from now!
What are the other options that United have? Lars Bender is one. But with Arsenal snooping around him and a possible Champions League qualification from Leverkusen next season, United’s chances are grim. The lack of Champions League (most probably) will play a major role when United go in for the likes of Vidal, Pogba and Gundogan.