The year has barely started, but it seems that the love story between West Ham and Sporting will continue to be strong in 2018.

In late December, the Hammers were back being named in the Portuguese press, this time because of an interest in midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia.

We all know the big saga that involved William Carvalho last year, so that makes two Sporting midfielders who West Ham would be interested in.

And to heat things up, the London side have now just sent emissaries to Lisbon, as club scouts were seen at Sporting’s away derby against Benfica.

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Battaglia didn’t have a good game. Couldn’t defend well, and couldn’t keep the ball in midfield either. He was also unlucky with a handball at the end of the game, which resulted in Benfica’s penalty equalizer.

William Carvalho wasn’t brilliant, misplacing more passes than usual, but still had a decent performance. He was responsible for the team’s attacking possession in the first half, and when Benfica started looking for the equaliser, he showed quality in defensive midfield.

Gelson Martins was Sporting’s best player, while for Benfica, Eduardo Salvio, Filip Krovinovic and Jonas all impressed in the 1-1 draw.

West Ham scouts were accompanied by officials from Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Sheffield Wednesday, Mainz, Eibar, Swansea, Tottenham Hotspur and Freiburg.