Arsenal failed to land 22-year-old Portuguese and Sporting Lisbon defensive midfielder, William Carvalho while the summer transfer window was open but more news as to why that happened despite serious links to the player is trickling in. Interests came from Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and so many other clubs in Europe but Portuguese newspaper O Jogo revealed that Arsenal is the club showing the most interest in the 22-year-old Sporting Lisbon defensive midfielder, William Carvalho despite recent news making the rounds that Manchester United are the keenest on the player’s signature. Other media houses too affirmed that Arsenal indeed talked to Sporting Lisbon about landing the defensive midfielder and in fact made a bid that fell short of the player’s valuation.
Recently, the player was quizzed about talks of his move away from Sporting Lisbon in the summer and he said: ‘‘I would not say I was disappointed, but despite being very happy at Sporting, we all have ambitions and I hope one day to be playing in the best leagues in the world, the English or Spanish. It did not happen this year, but if I continue to doo my job as I have been doing for sure that sooner or later would happen. I understand the proposals, but I think that there was no value for the clause and therefore they have been refused.’’
Carvalho, who has been linked to the North London club all summer long, was put on sale by his employers and said to have a £37m buyout clause in his contract. However, the club’s desperation to sell as a result of their critical financial situation is now forcing them to sell at ‘substantially’ below his £37m buy-out fee with fees paid upfront and not in instalments. The player is also said to be part-owned by an investment company, Banco Espirito Santo, which has 40% stake in the transfer fee while the club owns 60%. The Gunners were reported to have put in a £23.7m (€30m) bid for the 22-year-old and the Portuguese club had since rejected the offer, according to O Jogo. Reports have said the refusal is actually not because the club wants more than Arsenal’s proposed fee but as a result of Arsenal’s payment terms of two instalments. It was said that the proposal was in fact accepted by Sporting Lisbon but they wanted an upfront payment. What that portends for Sporting Lisbon is that, if an agreement is reached with the club for £23.7m, only £11.85 would be available to the club on first instalment. From £11.85m, Sporting’s 60% of that would be £7.1m and £4.75m to the third party. No wonder, they rejected the offer!
From the player’s statement, an offer was rejected; from O Jogo’s comprehensive report, Arsenal was the only club with serious and concrete bid; therefore, Arsenal’s bid of £23.7m was rejected because the club refused to pay the fee upfront. This would come as irritating news for the Arsenal supporters who have been made to believe that funds are available to sign any player deemed required for the team’s success. Arsene Wenger has been praised for his astuteness in negotiations and good value for money deals in the past but on this one, it comes down to gross excessiveness in negotiation. Arsenal should have agreed to pay up £23.7m at the point in negotiation where Sporting refused to the Gunners term of payment. It just connotes sheer unserious behaviour and the fact that Arsene Wenger never really was keen on buying another player for the defensive midfield role, probably because of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Francis Coquelin and Abou Diaby. The manager may just have believed that these players would do well while he buys time on the Carvalho deal.