Premier League • England

Liverpool press accelerator for ‘main target’ after direct Arne Slot request

Goncalo Inacio in Portugal kit, with a picture of Arne Slot in a circle

Arne Slot has his eyes on a potential first Liverpool signing

Arne Slot has told Liverpool he wants them to strengthen in defence, which has led to the selection of their top target for the summer transfer window, a report has claimed.

The Slot era is about to get up and running at Liverpool after the former Feyenoord boss replaced Jurgen Klopp. Klopp left behind a squad that finished third in the Premier League last season and had been making progress, but could still do with a couple of tweaks.

Slot has recognised that defence is an area for Liverpool to improve, especially in the wake of concerning rumours about big offers being put towards captain Virgil van Dijk, who is entering the final year of his contract on Merseyside.

Even if those Van Dijk rumours amount to nothing, Liverpool could benefit from some clarity about who’d be best to start alongside him. Ibrahima Konate has had some injury issues, while Joe Gomez was more of a utility player in Klopp’s last season and Joel Matip is being released at the end of his contract.

One of Slot’s requests to Liverpool sporting director Richard Hughes could well be to bring in a new centre-back this summer. And according to CaughtOffside, the ‘main target’ the Reds have chosen is Goncalo Inacio.

A member of Portugal’s squad for Euro 2024, Inacio plays his club football for Sporting CP. He is under contract in Lisbon until 2027, but has been tracked by various clubs throughout the past few months, in which time he has become a Portuguese champion.

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In fact, the report claims Liverpool have been monitoring the 22-year-old since November.

Inacio was most heavily linked with Liverpool when Sporting boss Ruben Amorim was tipped to become Klopp’s successor, but now the speculation is ramping up again ahead of Slot’s rebuild.

Inacio would add unique option for Liverpool

Unlike any other centre-back currently at Liverpool’s disposal, Inacio is left-footed, which could set him apart in the battle for playing time and also provide some better balance to their backline.

Slot was accustomed to having a left-footed centre-back in his Feyenoord squads. In the 2021-22 season, he relied on future Bournemouth man Marcos Senesi, before welcoming in David Hancko as a key player for the next two campaigns.

Now, Slot finds himself in charge of a group lacking a left-footed centre-back – but maybe not for much longer.

The report from CaughtOffside implies Liverpool are looking to wrap up a deal for Inacio within a matter of weeks. Whether they intend to pay his €60m (£50.7m) release clause or negotiate a different price remains to be seen.

Inacio is not the only left-footed centre-back to be linked with Liverpool. Recent reports have also indicated their lingering interest in Chelsea’s Levi Colwill, who may be keen for a more central role after having to deputise a lot at left-back last season.

But if the latest report is to be believed, Inacio is the name at the top of the shortlist for Liverpool, despite his lack of existing Premier League experience.

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