William Carvalho
Nani could be used to bring Carvalho to Old Trafford. Reuters

Manchester United will offer Luis Nani to Sporting Lisbon in order to a strike a deal that gives them first refusal on midfield target William Carvalho next summer, reports suggest.

Despite signing a new five year contract at Old Trafford during the summer the Portuguese winger remains a peripheral figure at Old Trafford, having started just six games in all competitions this season.

Adnan Januzaj's growing influence on the left of United's attack has severely limited the 26-year-old opportunities this season and a number of clubs are thought to be considering a January offer - either on loan or on a permanent basis - for the winger.

Sporting are keen to be reunited with their youth product who left for Manchester in 2007. Although Nani's wage demands are likely to be an obstacle in any attempt to bring the player back to the Estadio Jose Alvalade, A Bola suggest a compromise could be made between the two clubs involving the future of Carvalho.

The powerful midfielder has enjoyed a remarkable breakthrough season for Sporting this campaign and was rewarded with his first Portugal cap in November. His performances have greatly impressed David Moyes and his backroom staff who have reportedly travelled to Lisbon in six occasions this season to watch the 21-year-old in action.

In an effort to fend off interest from Arsenal, A Bola suggest United will offer Nani to Sporting and in return will have the option to sign Carvalho ahead of anyone else in the summer.

Given Sporting's financial limitations, it is suggested the Premier League champions will also subsidise some on Nani's salary upon his return to Portugal as part of the agreement.

Sporting, who sit two points off the summit of the Portuguese Liga table, still hold their former player in high and president Bruno de Carvalho recently suggested the club will do all they can to seal his return.

"I am surprised because officially we have made no approach," de Carvalho said after his club were linked with a loan move for Nani earlier this month.

"Nani is one of ours and he will always be well received here. If there is any chance of doing something then we would be happy."

When his United future hung in the balance during the summer Nani also spoke of a possible return to Sporting, insisting he will one day return to the club who brought him in to the professional game.

United target Carvalho has release clause of €45m but Sporting are likely to negotiate a lower fee, although a move in January is unlikely.