Manchester United will face competition from Liverpool for Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho as Brendan Rodgers could strengthen the midfield come summer.

The Merseysiders have only one defensive midfielder at the club in Lucas and he is out injured at the moment. With Steven Gerrard departing to the MLS next summer, there will be a hole left in the midfield and Carvalho is definitely one who can fill that spot.

Liverpool were linked with Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic in the last few weeks but that speculation was put to bed by the Bosnian himself which has forced Rodgers to look elsewhere. Carvalho’s signature could be a good one for the reds as the 22-year old has already established himself as a key member in the Lisbon and Portugal national team. At 22, he still has a good number of years where he can become one of the best in his position if he lives up to his potential.

Liverpool, however, will face competition from Manchester United who will once again strengthen in the summer backed by new sponsorship deals. Manchester United have considerable spending power over Liverpool and will have the advantage if Sporting decide to play hardball with the fee. Carvalho is contracted with Sporting until 2018, so it will take a hefty fee for Sporting to part ways with him. United manager Louis Van Gaal tried to sign Carvalho in the last summer transfer window but wasn’t willing to match his A?37m buy-out clause as they had already spent quite a considerable amount of money.

Another factor that could come into play is European football. United and Liverpool are fourth and fifth respectively in the table, so you could say that whoever qualifies for the UEFA Champions League will have the upper hand in the summer.

If Liverpool do sign Carvalho, he’ll be expected to make the first team almost immediately as the club lack a quality holding midfielder and it has come back to bite them in the last two seasons. Ever since Javier Mascherano left, the reds haven’t replaced him with a good player. Lucas impressed for a season or two, but injuries have sadly disrupted his momentum. if Brendan Rodgers’ side are to challenge for honours next season, then they’ll need to have top players in every position and Carvalho certainly is a good player to have at your club. The Portuguese has played 31 times for the side and has helped his side to third place until now.