Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd tipped to meet £52m clause to sign replacement for existing defender in January

Sporting defender Goncalo Inacio and Man Utd star Lisandro Martinez

Man Utd target Goncalo Inacio as cover for Lisandro Martinez

Manchester United are preparing a release clause-meeting bid for Sporting defender Goncalo Inacio in January, according to a report explaining why they have become optimistic about signing him.

Inacio has a €60m (£52m) exit clause in his contract with Sporting, who will not be able to stand in his way of a departure if someone makes a bid of that value while the transfer window is open.

Eager to win the race for his signature, Man Utd are now ready to pay up at the next opportunity, according to The Sun, which claims the club have instructed a scout to watch Inacio at least three times a month until the January window opens.

Their representative will observe Inacio on Thursday when Sporting face Atalanta in a Europa League clash, after also watching his display in the league against Farense over the weekend. By January, Man Utd should have enough information about just how high Inacio’s potential is.

At this stage, they have already identified him as an ideal replacement for Lisandro Martinez as a left-footed centre-half who is comfortable playing out from the back. The Argentina international is currently out with an injury, which means Man Utd could have done with Inacio now.

In the winter, they could well take their chance. The report reflects how Sporting not only have a good relationship with Man Utd, but are also willing to sanction one major sale per season, so they could be open to doing business for the centre-back.

READ MORETen Hag reveals primary reason why new Man Utd signing will barely play this season

Furthermore, Inacio himself is interested in coming to the Premier League, despite being under contract in Lisbon until 2027. Interestingly, his agent is the same one that represents Man Utd captain, Bruno Fernandes.

Inacio to compete with Martinez

While Inacio would quickly become cover for Martinez, there is no indication it would mean Man Utd selling the World Cup winner later down the line. Instead, they could rotate the pair for the left-sided centre-back role.

There is pressure on some of the right-footed centre-backs at Erik ten Hag’s disposal, though, with Harry Maguire falling down the pecking order and Raphael Varane struggling to maintain regular fitness.

Perhaps it would be more prudent for Man Utd to be in the market for an upgrade on the right-hand side of their centre-back pairing, especially knowing Luke Shaw can also cover as a left-sided centre-half.

However, the opportunity to snap up Inacio may be too good to turn down, especially when he has also been linked with some of their fiercest Premier League rivals in previous reports.