Manchester United have been encouraged in their pursuit of Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho but told that the player will not come cheap.
The Red Devils are long-time admirers of the Portugal holding player and Sporting have told the Old Trafford club that they can have their man if they are willing to meet his £37m buyout clause.
Chelsea are also keen on the player, having made an £11m cash plus an unnamed player offer, but it is understood that the special relationship between United and the Lisbon club – following successful deals for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani – means Louis van Gaal has the edge over Jose Mourinho in the race to sign the 22-year-old.
The new United boss has already added some creative spark to his midfield, with Ander Herrera arriving from Atletico Bilbao, but is keen to add an enforcer to his squad.
The Red Devils are clearly willing to splash the cash this summer, having shelled out over £60m on Herrara and teenage left back sensation Luke Shaw, but the asking price for Carvalho could tempt Van Gaal to opt for a cut price alternative in Nigel de Jong.
The AC Milan man was a key part of Holland’s World Cup plans until injury ended his involvement in the tournament and the former Manchester City midfielder would be available at a fraction of Sporting’s asking price for Carvalho.
Dutchman Stefan de Vrij is supposedly the number one target to fill the void left by the exits of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, with some believing a fee with Feyenoord has already been agreed, while Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen and Dortmund’s Mats Hummels are also on the shortlist.
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