Home » Manchester United pursue Gonçalo Inácio to help ease defensive woes

Manchester United pursue Gonçalo Inácio to help ease defensive woes

by Alex Browne

Gonçalo Inácio is the latest name to come up in the raffle that is Manchester United transfer targets.

The Portuguese press has form for linking their league’s stars to United but there is also a good reason for that. The club have dipped into the Primeira Liga before. Current stars Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof were all recruited from the division and there is already a sizeable Portuguese-speaking contingent at the club when you factor in the Brazilian players plying their trade at the Mancunian club.

Recently Correio da Manhã, the Portuguese newspaper, has joined others in linking Sporting Lisbon’s young starlet, Gonçalo Inácio, to the struggling English giants.

United’s interest has been mooted for some time, but the race is now hotting up as the January window approaches. The paper states that United, Liverpool and now Real Madrid are keeping a keen eye on the progress of the young star. It is reported that all three European giants are sending scouts to the forthcoming Lisbon derby on Sunday to watch the now full Portugal international against Sporting’s fiercest opposition.

According to the publication, “Manchester United are considering moving forward in January for the player, who has a release clause of 60 million euros.” It is believed that the Red Devils would not have much difficulty paying that type of fee and would be willing to put €45m up front and add the extra €15m in add-ons.

It is also stated by Correio da Manhã that the Red Devils would need to pay for the fee in instalments but would be happy to, to fend off arch-rivals Liverpool for the signature of the defender.

While it is exceedingly questionable as to whether United would be able to sanction such a move in the context of such a tumultuous takeover saga, it is obvious the team needs quality reinforcements in the defence. All season there has been ongoing injuries with numerous first team defenders, which has resulted in players like Jonny Evans playing extended minutes. Ironically, the Northern Irishman is now facing a possible extended period on the sidelines himself like fellow centre-back, Lisandro Martinez.

Clearly, the Red Devils need help defensively. The club’s woes can be seen in the fact that United have now conceded 30 goals in just 17 games. This is exactly double the number they had conceded in the same number of games by this time last season. So, the big question is whether Sporting Lisbon’s defensive jewel would help or not.

There is always a risk in bringing in young players but Manchester United have seen the benefit of doing so in recent years, especially as Rasmus Hojlund continues to be a rare bright spark in the season. According to Transfermarkt, the young centre-back has already played 15 times at the heart of the defence for the Portuguese giants this season.

The youngster has already played four times for the national team since making his debut in March of this year and has even found the back of the net twice for his country. Additionally, Sporting Lisbon currently sit at the summit of the Portuguese league and have only conceded 9 goals in 10 games. Evidently, the young central defender is making a positive contribution.

If the young defender does arrive to the club in the winter or summer window, he will have a long-standing admirer already in the dressing room. Manchester United captain, Bruno Fernandes, claimed back in 2019 that “there is a player I like a lot from the under-23s, the left footed guy, Goncalo Inacio. I’ve spoken about him many times.” Inácio’s coach, Rúben Amorim, who has himself been recently linked with the Red Devils, was complimentary of the starlet’s speed and long-passing abilities.

With a host of top clubs circling over such a talent, it is yet to be seen whether the youngster would be interested in choosing the red side of Manchester or even if Erik ten Hag’s side would have the financial capability to sanction such a move. However, the side from Old Trafford will hope that their track record of playing youngsters, the obvious route into the first team as a centre-back and its Portuguese speaking group could entice the starlet to bring his talents to the Theatre of Dreams.

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