William Carvalho
Carvalho scouted by both Arsenal and United. Reuters

Manchester United's hopes of signing Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho have been boosted after the Portuguese club identified a possible replacement for the 21-year-old.

Carvalho has enjoyed a breakout season for Sporting which has earned him recognition at international level and admiration from some of Europe's biggest clubs.

Scouts from United and Arsenal have been frequent visitors to Sporting's Stadio Jose Alvalade this season with Old Trafford representatives spotted in attendance on at least eight occasions, with Carvalho thought to be the focus of their attention.

After refusing to listen to offers during January, it would now appear Sporting are prepared to part ways with their prized asset as they eye Estoril midfielder Goncalo as his replacement, according to the Mirror.

It is suggested that Sporting could get hold of the 27-year-old holding midfielder for a fee as little as £400,000, a move that would allow the cash-strapped club to make a huge profit on their summer business.

While United remain linked with a number of centre midfield options, it would appear David Moyes and his backroom staff are growing increasingly keen on Carvalho.

Portuguese publication A Bola reported at the beginning of the month that representatives from United where in attendance as Sporting were held to a goalless draw by Academica at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in what was the latest in a succession of visits to the Portuguese capital.

United are expected to add at least one central midfielder to their ranks after a failure to bolster their options during the summer and January transfer window.

The club's already limited options in that position are likely to shorten at the end of the season with Brazilian midfielder Anderson largely expected to make his loan move to Fiorentina permanent, while stalwart Ryan Giggs is likely to move into a full time coaching role at the end of the season.