Man Utd ‘attentive’ for €45m defender who can put pressure on 2022 signing and has zero interest in joining Newcastle

Goncalo Inacio and Sebastian Coates

Man Utd remain in the picture for Sporting CP defender Goncalo Inacio, according to reports in Portugal – but Newcastle have little chance of signing him.

Inacio has risen to prominence over the past three seasons after breaking into the Sporting first team. He already has 40 appearances in all competitions to his name this season. In the process, he has surpassed the barrier of 100 games for his club.

Sporting have the 21-year-old under contract until 2026. However, they are now bracing themselves for interest in his signature.

For example, Newcastle have been exploring a move, as reported by O Jogo in his native country. Despite boasting the best defence in the Premier League this season, Eddie Howe’s side are looking to upgrade further at the back.

They signed Sven Botman from Lille last summer and are now looking for a long-term partner for him. After all, the player who currently occupies that role, Fabian Schar, is in his thirties.

Therefore, Newcastle are said to have recently made an approach about Inacio. According to O Jogo, though, he is “not interested” in joining them.

Even though Newcastle are on course for European qualification this season, Inacio still feels capable of bigger things. Precisely, Man Utd have been “attentive” to his situation, the report says.

As things stand, they would be able to sign Inacio in the summer by activating his €45million (£39.7m) release clause.

However, Sporting want to improve Inacio’s contract so they can raise his clause to somewhere between €50m (£44.1m) and €80m (£70.6m).

Nevertheless, the Lisbon-based club have failed to convince Inacio to agree to that yet. It seems he could be holding out for a big move away.

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Inacio might add to Man Utd depth but would have to be patient

If he was to join Man Utd, Inacio would be competing with Lisandro Martinez for a place as their left-footed centre-back.

Martinez has generally done well since following Erik ten Hag from Ajax in the summer, proving some of his doubters wrong. But there might be a need for further cover given the uncertainty about several other options Ten Hag currently has.

For example, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire both might prefer to leave for somewhere they will play more regularly. In turn, Man Utd might need more depth at the back.

Investing in a prospect like Inacio might be a sensible way to deal with the situation, even if the player would then have to prepare himself for a slight drop-off in gametime compared to what he currently enjoys.

But Inacio – who has also been linked with Liverpool – ought to be keeping his options open. Even if clubs like Newcastle may have been ruled out for now, Man Utd are unlikely to be the only side willing to give him something to consider in the summer.

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