Premier League • England

Gigantic Liverpool boost as Fabrizio Romano shuts down Real Madrid move for prime Klopp target

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, November 2022

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool have been given a major lift in their hunt to sign Goncalo Inacio from Sporting, as Fabrizio Romano has ended speculation that Real Madrid have already reached an agreement for his capture.

Inacio has been heavily linked with Manchester United in recent months, but Liverpool have since overtaken them in the transfer race. On October 23, it emerged that Liverpool were mobilising to steal the defender from Man Utd’s grasp after Jurgen Klopp told his club to ‘step up’ their pursuit.

Man Utd then abandoned their interest in Inacio after deciding he would be too expensive to snare in January. This in turn put Liverpool at the front of the queue to complete a deal with Sporting.

However, Klopp’s hopes of taking the centre-back to Anfield appeared to take a hit on Wednesday. Spanish newspaper AS claimed that Madrid had landed on Inacio as a key transfer target.

It was even suggested in the Spanish media that Carlo Ancelotti’s side had struck an agreement with Sporting.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Romano has now weighed in on Inacio’s future. He has shut down talk of the Portugal international heading to Madrid by stating that Los Blancos ‘have not agreed any deal’. There is ‘no confirmation’ that Madrid have indicated they will match Inacio’s €60million (£52m) release clause next year.

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Romano adds that Inacio is still being ‘monitored’ by top clubs across Europe, with Liverpool and Newcastle United firmly in the mix. The journalist also throws Man Utd’s name in there, which suggests they are still keeping a watchful eye on developments even though they will not be able to afford a winter deal.

Klopp will be delighted that Liverpool will not face competition from Madrid for Inacio. Madrid are incredibly hard to overcome in transfer battles, as shown by them beating Liverpool and Manchester City to England star Jude Bellingham.

Liverpool poised to sign defender after Romano update

Madrid can offer their players regular silverware and the chance to put themselves in the shop window for potential Ballon d’Or titles. And for Inacio, a switch from Lisbon to Madrid would not have been the biggest cultural shift.

Instead, though, Madrid appear to be targeting other players, which means Liverpool will not have to deal with those factors when engaging in transfer talks with both Inacio and Sporting.

Klopp has set his sights on Inacio as the perfect successor to Virgil van Dijk. The Liverpool captain is now 32 years old, which means a younger alternative must be found to gradually replace him over the next few seasons.

Inacio should fill that role perfectly. He is 22 years of age but already has good experience at a high level, having played for Sporting in the Champions League and forced his way into the Portugal starting lineup.

As Inacio is left-footed, he would also provide even more balance to the Liverpool team than Van Dijk. A centre-back partnership of him and Ibrahima Konate would be incredibly difficult for opposition strikers to prevail over.

Meanwhile, Liverpool, Man Utd and Barcelona have all missed out on an exciting signing as Arsenal have agreed a deal first, according to reports.