Arsene Wenger had been questioned for quite some time about not spending money on a proper defensive midfielder. Even after recalling Francis Coquelin, there have been a number of potential targets for that number 6 role, but there’s one name that has resurfaced as of late.
Sporting’s William Carvalho was reported to be a target in the previous transfer window, and his name is being tossed around once again. Hopefully it’s nothing more than rumors because his window of opportunity to join the Gunners may have passed.
The Portuguese international enjoyed arguably his best season in his young career during the 2013/14 campaign. He featured in 33 matches across all competitions, with his side coming out victorious in 22 of those fixtures, while only losing three. Apart from those statistics, the young Portuguese midfielder really made a name for himself. His physicality in the center of the park was not going unnoticed, with some of Europe’s elite stopping by the Estádio Jose de Alvalade to scout him on multiple occasions.
William appeared to be that piece in Portugal’s midfield that the Lusitanos have been missing for quite some time. A player who could throw his weight around while also showing incredible patience on the ball for such a young player.
After that season there was loads of interest in him, but new club president Bruno de Carvalho was not interested in letting him go. Reports emerged that there were offers of up to €45m that were rejected by the Portuguese club.
I remember telling my uncle who is a big time Sporting CP supporter that the Leões will have missed out on their chance to make big money on William, and I’m confident that’s going to be the case.
Last season William took part in 42 matches for his club, but you could just tell that he wasn’t that same player. He was still an imposing figure on the pitch, but he wasn’t as influential as he was during that breakout season. While in the Portuguese League he was able to standout at times, his lack of pace could cause him problems in a fast paced league such as the Premier League.
Francis Coquelin may be half the size of William Carvalho, but he’s much quicker. Also, with the Frenchman already being adapted to life in the Premier League, William would be a very expensive purchase, and I’m confident that he’s not as good as Coquelin. Now, that doesn’t mean that the young Portuguese midfielder won’t be better than Coq in the future given his age, but at the moment, he’d be a waste of money. Had you asked me this question prior to Coquelin stepping into the spotlight I would have said absolutely, lets sign Carvalho.
Right now, if Arsenal is going to spend money on a defensive midfielder, it either has to be on someone younger with loads of potential but not a ridiculous price tag, or if the price is high, it has to be a proven player at every level of the game. As I said before, Carvalho may have proven himself in the Portuguese League where the level is lower than in England apart from the top three, but having plateud last season, he has a lot to prove this season.
As of right now, apart from the potential factor, I’m not sure he’s worth more than €20-25m. If he’s worth €45m like Sporting CP is asking for, then Coquelin who is one year older is easily worth €60m.
Stan Kroenke / Ivan Gazidis / Arsene Wenger, please don’t spend your money on him.