Manchester United have the opportunity to sign Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio with an offer ‘very close’ to the buy-out clause, Portuguese outlet Jornal de Noticias (today’s edition, page 40) claims.
The Red Devils are currently prioritising a move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but manager Erik ten Hag may also want to bolster several other positions ahead of next season.
A new central defender appears as one of the priorities and United have once again been linked with Inacio, who shares the same agent as Bruno Fernandes.
As per Jornal de Noticias, United have expressed an interest in the 20-year-old defender, who is also on the radar of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Barcelona.
Sporting were previously insistent on a club triggering his €45 million (£39m) release clause, but it is now claimed that an offer ‘very close’ to the figure could entice them.
Still, United may need to convince the player over a summer transfer. Inacio is said to prefer staying in the Primeira Liga to boost his World Cup selection prospects.
He has yet to make his senior Portugal debut under manager Fernando Santos, but has been called up to the national team on a couple of occasions already.
United have a good working relationship with Sporting since the turn of the century, having signed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Marcos Rojo and Fernandes.
Hence, they should have an edge over potential rivals, and their prospects of signing Inacio could be boosted by the fact that he shares the same representative as Fernandes.
United built a close relationship with agent Miguel Pinho when they signed the 27-year-old two years ago. His presence could provide them an added advantage in Inacio’s pursuit.
The big question is whether they can persuade Inacio to join them. We have already seen Jurrien Timber snub a move over fears of missing out on the Netherlands World Cup squad.
Inacio has caught the eye with his tackling, strong distribution and ability to clear his lines. He is also decent in the air and would provide a different dimension to United’s game being left-footed.
He has the potential to develop further and working under Ten Hag could be best for him, given the Dutchman has built his reputation on grooming young players into potential world-beaters.
Looking at the wider picture, Inacio looks a longshot for the World Cup squad with Pepe, Ruben Dias, Jose Fonte, Domingos Duarte, Danilo Pereira and David Carmo preferred ahead of him.
Barring a string of injuries, he may not make the major showpiece tournament. It remains to be seen whether United can make him realise the same to land his services this summer.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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