Red Devils race against Liverpool for highly-rated defender’s signature
In the aftermath of Harry Maguire’s tumultuous summer, Manchester United is reportedly intensifying efforts to secure a replacement for the embattled captain. Maguire’s future at Old Trafford became uncertain when manager Erik ten Hag stripped him of the captaincy, and although a move to West Ham United was on the cards, it never materialized.
United is now rumored to be in a competitive race with Liverpool to sign Sporting Lisbon’s defensive gem, Goncalo Inacio, as the perfect successor to Maguire. According to Football Insider, Sporting Lisbon is resigned to losing the 22-year-old, prompting United’s interest in the player.
Manager Erik ten Hag and his scouting team have allegedly been monitoring Inacio closely in recent weeks, laying the groundwork for a potential move in the upcoming January transfer window. In August, Inacio committed his future to Sporting Lisbon by signing a new contract extending until the 2026/2027 season, featuring an upgraded release clause of £52 million.
The defender’s initial release clause was reported to be £39 million, attracting interest from Liverpool and Newcastle United. In the 2022/2023 season, Inacio showcased his talents with 52 appearances across all competitions, contributing four goals and three assists.
In a recent international outing, Inacio further underlined his prowess by scoring twice during Portugal’s resounding 9-0 victory over Luxembourg in the Euro 2024 qualifiers. As the young defender’s performances continue to impress, multiple clubs across the continent are closely monitoring his progress.
For Manchester United, the race to secure Inacio’s signature appears to be time-sensitive, with the need to act swiftly if they are serious about acquiring the Portuguese talent. As the January transfer window approaches, the Red Devils are navigating the complex landscape of player negotiations in their pursuit of a defensive cornerstone to potentially replace Maguire.
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