Any lingering hopes that Arsenal may have had of signing William Carvalho during the current transfer window have been dealt a decisive blow, after Sporting Lisbon confirmed the highly rated midfielder is set to miss up to three months with a fractured leg.
Carvalho has frequently been linked with a move to the Premier League since breaking into the first-team setup at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Speculation regarding a potential switch to North London was revived once again in June after the London Evening Standard suggested that Arsene Wenger preferred his signature to that of Juventus's Arturo Vidal or Manchester United newcomer Morgan Schneiderlin.
The 23 year old's fledgling reputation was handed another significant boost last month after he was named player of the tournament at the UEFA European U21 Championship in the Czech Republic, despite missing a decisive spot kick in the agonising final defeat to Sweden.
Carvalho, who has previously earned 13 senior international caps, enjoyed a starring role in a 1-0 victory over England and went on to dominate the midfield exchanges against Italy and in a first encounter with the Swedes, before helping Portugal to a stunning 5-0 victory over pre-tournament favourites Germany in the final four.
Regardless of new manager Jorge Jesus's protestations that he was eager to retain the player, such a stellar series of performances only appeared to increase the likelihood of him being courted by Europe's top clubs this summer.
However, in an angry statement released via their official Facebook page, Sporting revealed on 14 July that Carvalho had returned to to the club with a stress fracture to the tibia, despite the problem apparently not having previously been relayed to them by the Portuguese Football Federation or the U21 medical department.
They estimate that he will spend at least 10 weeks on the sidelines, missing all of the side's pre-season preparations.
That lay off would almost certainly result in Carvalho being absent for the opening weeks of the 2015/16 Primeira Liga season, with Sporting set to travel to Tondela for their opening fixture on 16 August before games against Pacos de Ferreira and Academica during the following fortnight.
Sporting finished third last term under Marco Silva, nine points adrift of champions Benfica and six behind second-place Porto.
The decision to appoint long-serving Benfica boss Jesus as Silva's successor in June caused quite a stir, primarily due to the fact that the experienced Portuguese is the first manager ever to move directly between the two rivals.