Manchester City have been told to land Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio, in a move which would deprive Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool of the 22-year-old.
Inacio is an impressive young centre-back who has already won three caps for the Portugal national team. Despite Inacio’s position, he has a great scoring record for his country as he has found the back of the net twice in those three international appearances.
Inacio has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool this year. Indeed, on August 14 a report claimed Liverpool were ‘expected’ to bid for him before the summer transfer deadline.
Ultimately, that offer did not materialise, but the Sporting academy graduate remains on Liverpool’s shortlist. Klopp will soon be in need of a left-sided central defender to replace Virgil van Dijk and play alongside Ibrahima Konate, and as Inacio is left-footed he fits the bill perfectly.
But Liverpool are not alone in admiring the star, as Manchester United and City are also monitoring his progress.
And City have now been urged to beat Liverpool and Man Utd in the race for Inacio by Portuguese pundits Daniel Carrico and Jose Boto.
Former Sevilla man Carrico namechecked City star Ruben Dias when noting how Inacio could move to the Premier League for a major fee, potentially as high as €60million (£51.5m).
“We saw it happen with Ruben Dias at City. Who knows if the same thing won’t happen with Inacio, a transfer for very high sums. A left-footed centre-half who is quick and good in the air are characteristics that make him even more valuable,” Carrico said in an interview with Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.
Man City, Liverpool target ‘ready to leave’ current club
Boto, a former Benfica scout and Shakhtar Donetsk sporting director, then gave his take on the situation.
“Inacio is a very good builder, very quick at reading the game,” he added. “He’s an intelligent player. He plays well and is ready to leave. He needs a specific team that likes to build from the back.
“Manchester City, for example. I think he’d make a good partner for Ruben Dias. He’s very comfortable on the ball. I don’t know if there will be many teams who can take him because he has very specific characteristics. I think he’s at a good time to make the leap.”
As City captured fellow left-footed defender Josko Gvardiol in the summer, there would only be room for Inacio in Pep Guardiola’s squad if a current defender left. The prime candidate would be Nathan Ake, but it is unclear whether he will be axed anytime soon as Guardiola trusts him.
Inacio and Gvardiol could technically play together, with the former taking up the left-sided centre-half position and the latter operating at left-back.
Of course, if City were to complete this signing then it would infuriate Liverpool. City would have yet another top defender in their ranks, whereas Liverpool would have to start searching for a different signing in the position.