This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
19-year-old Fabio Carvalho was set to sign a new deal with Championship side Fulham according to The Athletic’s Peter Ruzler in the middle of last month, fending off interest from the likes of FC Barcelona and Premier League side Leeds United for his signature.
Although he was born in Lisbon, the young midfielder spent much of his youth career in west London with Marco Silva’s side, rising up through the ranks and recording an impressive 17 goal contributions in 13 Premier League 2 appearances last term.
This has persuaded fellow Portuguese native Silva to give the teenager an opportunity in the Championship this season, taking his opportunity with both hands and bagging himself three goals in five second-tier games, also grabbing one assist in the process.
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Predominantly an advanced midfielder in the centre, Carvalho can also operate out wide and could prove to be a crucial, versatile player for the Cottagers to utilise throughout the season when injuries and suspensions start to come into play as the campaign goes on.
But the 19-year-old, who has less than a year left on his current deal, has been linked with an exit from Craven Cottage in recent months and interest from Barcelona and Leeds is just the tip of the iceberg.
Clubs from Germany, France and Portugal have also reportedly been monitoring his situation in the capital – but this growing confidence of a new deal could be a big boost for Fulham fans.
Ahead of this potential agreement, we asked three of our FLW writers how important it is for Fulham to retain Carvalho beyond next summer.
It has been a joy to watch the emergence of Fabio Carvalho in the opening few weeks of the Championship campaign. The attacker is showing no fear and is proving to be one of the most outstanding players in the English second tier at the age of just 19.
Therefore, it has been no surprise to anyone that teams like Barcelona and Leeds United have been starting to take note and registering an interest in the attacker.
Fulham simply must do all they can to try and tie him down to a new long-term deal because he could well be their major talisman for the next four or five years if he can continue to progress at his current rate.
We have already seen in the past that Fulham find it difficult to hold on to bright talents that emerge through their youth set-up with Ryan Sessegnon eventually moving on to Tottenham Hotspur.
As a result, it is vital that Fulham protect themselves from a financial perspective. That means they need to make sure that Carvalho is signed up to a long-term deal which would mean that they hold the cards in any future negotiations over him with another club.
There is no doubt that at his current rate of development Carvalho might outgrow Fulham even if they were promoted back to the Premier League.
However, the attacker must still prove himself fully first and show his best form consistently. He knows he will get game time with Fulham and therefore it is beneficial for him as well to sign a new deal.
It’s very important.
Fulham obviously need to keep their best players around for as long as possible and Carvalho has quickly established himself as a key man for them this season despite his young age.
He’s someone with huge potential there’s obviously a chance he could get a move away from Fulham offered to him, so it makes sense for the Lilywhites to try and cover themselves as much as possible against the threat of losing him on the cheap.
There are two issues that a new deal will sort. Fulham will increase their chances of keeping him around for at least a little longer and, indeed, will manage to prevent themselves from losing him on the cheap which is currently a real prospect as things stand.
Fabio Carvalho has emerged as one of the most exciting talents in European football at present, sneaking into consecration about Europe’s most exciting teenagers from England’s second-tier.
At 19 years old, he plays with a sense of maturity well beyond his years, with his intelligent attacking runs, not always benefitting him, but always helping the team.
Carvalho’s technical ability is up there with the best the Championship has ever seen, and in this exciting Fulham team, he is perhaps been the best performer thus far.
All this makes securing a deal for Carvalho very important. The fact that Barcelona are after his services just shows how brilliant he is, and what potential he has.
Fulham are a side who would probably still mount a serious promotion push without, but with him at the club, they can be confident about the future.