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Portugal World Cup clash is last chance for Man Utd target

| 26.06.2014

Portugal’s World Cup campaign may be approaching an ignominious end, but one Selecao player that is sure to leave Brazil with his reputation intact is William Carvalho.

Injury has curtailed the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao, while poor discipline put paid to Pepe and bad club form carried through for Joao Moutinho but one man that has impressed is the 22-year-old Sporting Lisbon star.

Coming on for the second half of Portugal’s 2-2 draw with the USA, the central midfielder put in an imperious shift, completing 97% of his passes with just one going astray and managing more successful tackles in those 45 minutes than starting XI rival Miguel Veloso managed in 155.

And with Portugal facing an uphill task to qualify given their poor goal difference, manager Paulo Bento could be tempted to start the midfielder against Ghana as they go in search of a World Cup miracle.

Put in another fine display over the 90 minutes against the Black Stars and Carvalho, who is valued at around £30m by his Portuguese employers, could be heading to Manchester United.

The 22-year-old has long been linked with a big money move to Old Trafford, as Louis van Gaal aims to start his Red Devils reign with a bang, and though contracted to Sporting until 2018, a good performance against Ghana could convince United to increase their offer for the youngster.

Carvalho, meanwhile, may have previously moved to dismiss speculation surrounding his future but will know that should the likes of Manchester United come calling with a concrete offer and opportunity to play in the Premier League, it would be very difficult to turn it down.

In the meantime, the 22-year-old is focusing on helping Portugal achieve the near-impossible with Cristiano Ronaldo’s team currently 9/1 to qualify.

Can Portugal do the unthinkable and will it be with or without Carvalho? Tune in later to find out.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.