Manchester United are reportedly one of the main candidates in the race for Sporting centre back Goncalo Inacio.
What’s the word?
That’s according to Portuguese outfit Correio da Manha (via Sport Witness), who have stated that there are a number of interested clubs but none are close to his release clause.
The reported figure that Sporting will allow the defender to leave is €45m (£38.5m), which rules out a lot of the competition.
Ten Hag is supposedly a big admirer of his, and the Red Devils’ significant financial muscle makes them favourites to sign the 20-year-old.
Their own Ruben Dias
Since signing for Manchester City in 2020, Ruben Dias has secured back-to-back Premier League titles. He has been the defensive rock that the Sky Blues had been lacking, and in this Portuguese youngster, Ten Hag could have found his own version of the 25-year-old.
Dias was the proud winner of the 2020/21 Premier League’s ‘Player of the Season’ award in his debut season, showing how the Portuguese stopper quickly and comfortably adapted to life in a new league.
Perhaps in Inacio, Manchester United will be able to repeat this feat. Portuguese football expert Daniel Oliveira was full of praise for the youngster and was keen to compare him with Dias.
“Inacio first caught my eye last season in Sporting’s championship-winning side… There was an immediate sense that Inacio would develop into a top, top centre-back. His composure, concentration and calm temperament were obvious straight away.
“He’s robust physically, though not an absolute powerhouse, and he’s got a goal in him.
“I’m 100% sure about one thing: the 20-year-old Inacio is a better player than Ruben Dias was at the same age.”
To compare, this season Dias boasts a similar yet slightly inferior 7.10 average SofaScore rating.
His defensive stats are considerably worse than Inacio’s, however. Admittedly, Manchester City’s dominance on the ball does mean the former Benfica man is more important for his distribution out from the back, which is exceptional.
Although he is unlikely to have the same instant impact that Ruben Dias did upon his move to the Citizens, Inacio could quickly blossom into a player of similar ilk if Ten Hag decides to snap up the youngster. He could be just what they have been lacking and could be the answer to their defence prayers.