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Man United Identify Portuguese Defensive Rock To Solve Crisis At The Back: Right Option?

Manchester United are reportedly planning a January swoop for Sporting CP defender Goncalo Inacio.

The Red Devils were dealt a big blow last week when it was revealed that Lisandro Martinez will be out for at least three months after undergoing surgery on his ankle yet again. Raphael Varane’s fitness remains a concern, while Harry Maguire has fallen way down the defensive pecking order at Old Trafford. As a result, Erik ten Hag will be eyeing defensive reinforcements in the winter window.

According to The Sun, Manchester United have sent a scout to closely monitor Goncalo Inacio over the next couple of months before deciding whether to bid in the January transfer window. The Man United scout was present at Sporting CP’s game at the weekend and will also watch the defender during this Thursday’s Europa League clash with Atalanta.

Rated as one of the highly-rated young defenders across Europe, Inacio, 22, has gone on to make 130 appearances for Sporting since making his debut back in 2020, scoring 11 goals. The Portugal international recently signed a new deal with Sporting but has a €60million (£52m) release clause which Man United are ready to trigger, the report adds.

Goncalo Inacio to Man United—Good option for the club?

Man United currently sit tenth in the Premier League table after losing four of their opening seven games and sit bottom of their Champions League group after an opening 4-3 loss to Bayern Munich. They are clearly struggling right now, having conceded 15 goals in nine games across all competitions.

Apart from the defeat against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, they were recently beaten by Brighton at home last month. It is evident that the Red Devils are vulnerable at the back, and following the fresh blow of losing Martinez for up to three months, Ten Hag has seemingly decided to splash the cash on a central defender in January.

Goncalo Inacio has emerged as a potential target for Ten Hag. The Portuguese has established himself as one of the best young defensive talents in European football right now and United are among the top clubs keeping tabs on him.

The 22-year-old is a left-footed, calm and composed defender who can also play at left-back when required. Due to him being left-footed, Inacio would be the perfect replacement for the crocked Martinez. The Sporting CP man clearly has the potential to develop into a world-class defender and be a major upgrade on players like Maguire and Varane.

The Portugal international could prove to be a quality long-term signing if Ten Hag’s United can get the deal across the line. The opportunity to join a club like United will be an attractive option for the player as well. However, Sporting will demand Inacio’s €60million release clause to be paid in full in January and it remains to be seen whether the Mancunian giants decide to accept those demands.

For now, the Red Devils must continue tracking Inacio’s progress in Sporting colours.

Rohan Sengupta

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