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Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Must Make William Carvalho Rumours a Reality

Published by Bleacher Report on Mon, 29 Dec 2014

Arsenal are reportedly once again moving to bring long-time transfer target William Carvalho to the Emirates Stadium, and Arsene Wenger should turn these rumours into a reality in January.According to the Daily Mail's Joe Bernstein, the Gunners are preparing a 20 million offer for the Portugal international, taking advantage of the fact Sporting Lisbon failed to qualify for the next round of the UEFA Champions League:Arsenal are preparing to go back to Sporting Lisbon with a 20million offer for Portugal holding midfielder William Carvalho.Talks between the two clubs broke down in the autumn after Carvalho was valued at 30m by his Portuguese team.But with Arsene Wenger taking Arsenal through to the Champions League knockout stages, where they face Monaco, the importance of solving their well-documented defensive problems have increased. Carvalho, 22, is one of the very few top international-class players who will probably be available in January.The Gunners spent all summer trying to convince the Portuguese club to sell its star midfielder. Carvalho's value was incredibly high after a phenomenal season, and Sporting were determined to hold out for a massive transfer fee.That decision appears to have backfired, as the 22-year-old has regressed tremendously in the 2014-15 campaign. Where last year he was the heart and soul of Sporting, shielding the defence and orchestrating the attack, he's failed to live up to those lofty expectations this season.Even manager Marco Silva knows he's not playing nearly as good as last year, and it may lead to a transfer in January, via Portuguese football expert Jan Hagen:He struggled twice in the club's Champions League meetings with Chelsea, leading to plenty of English fans and pundits dropping their interest in the 22-year-old altogether. ESPN's Jeff Borzello was among them:There are a number of reasons why Carvalho has struggled this season, ranging from the fact defences are better prepared to face him to the lack of talent around him. Last year, Sporting overachieved, with the squad exceeding all expectations.It lost its best defender during the summer, with Marcos Rojo bolting for Manchester United, and expecting the team to have the same sort of success in 2014-15 was simply too much to ask.Carvalho hasn't helped matters with a series of mediocreand even downright poorperformances, but pundits are overreacting to his struggles. The Guardian's Barney Ronay, for instance, based his entire assessment of the player on 180 minutes against Chelsea:At the time, Chelsea were one of the most in-form teams of Europe, and Carvalho was a 22-year-old playing in his first Champions League campaign, surrounded by subpar talent and low on confidence himself.His potential hasn't magically vanishedall the past six months have done is drop his transfer value to the point where Arsenal could realistically bring him in for 20 million. He still has all of the attributes to be an elite player at the position, which happens to be an area of need for the Gunners.Bleacher Report's Ryan Bailey and Janusz Michallik recently broke down the club's biggest needs, with the defensive areas taking the top spot:Carvalho doubles as a holding midfielder and a centre-backthe Gunners could address both areas in one swoop. Morgan Schneiderlin might be the fans' preferred option, but the chances of him leaving Southampton in January are slim at best.Ronald Koeman has already ruled out a departure of the France international, via Football Radar's Jack Rathborn:Carvalho is a realistic target in January, and if the Gunners can bring him in for 20 million, his long-term potential would make such a move a massive steal. He's not worth anything more right now, and Sporting likely won't hold out for a bigger offer, either.He fills a clear need, has youth on his side and will likely never be cheaper than he is right now. While there's some risk involved with a deal given his recent struggles, it's still a move the Gunners have to make.Follow @ReverschPassRead more World Football news on BleacherReport.com
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