Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho says he is flattered to have been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid as suggestions he could move to either club continue to gain momentum.
“It’s nice being praised and to know there are some big clubs interested in me,” said Carvalho to Sky Sports after helping his team to a 2-1 victory over SC Braga.
“It could be Manchester United or Real Madrid. It’s just nice to have a great European club after me, but at the moment I’m just totally focused on Sporting and doing my best until the end of the season.
“At the end of the campaign, we will see what happens.”
The 21 year-old Portugal international, who has a single cap for his country, typically plays a holding role for his club, breaking up play with intelligent positioning to intercept passes or make incisive tackles.
Manchester United last signed a first team central midfielder in 2007, when Owen Hargreaves moved to Old Trafford, and the position remains a significant area of weakness for the Red Devils.
Carvalho, who has a £37.5 million minimum fee release clause in his deal at Estadio Jose Alvalade, has a huge amount of potential, and could be a fine successor to Michael Carrick in David Moyes’ midfield – or potential upgrade on Tom Cleverley.
His ability to fill in at centre back could also be useful given that Nemanja Vidic is set to leave Man Utd at the end of the season, and doubts remain over the future of Rio Ferdinand after injuries and recent poor performances.
Real Madrid may look to boost their options in the anchor role with Xabi Alonso in the latter years of his career, and Sami Khedira suffering fitness issues, but Asier Illarramendi has impressed when called upon, and the chance to cement a place at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu may prove rather more difficult.