Liverpool FC, known for its relentless pursuit of excellence, is reportedly keeping a keen eye on Sporting Lisbon’s star defender, Gonçalo Inacio.
The pursuit of Inacio has been a long-standing interest for the Premier League giants. Recent reports suggest that Liverpool is ready to make a substantial move to secure his services.
Gonçalo Inacio Emerges as Liverpool’s ‘Top Target’
During the summer transfer window, Goncalo Inacio emerged as Liverpool’s ‘top target’ for defensive reinforcements. The Portugal international had caught the eye with his standout performances for Sporting Lisbon. His availability was heightened by a £39 million release clause in his contract. However, Liverpool’s hopes took a hit when Inacio signed a new contract with Sporting Lisbon. Now with a higher release clause of £51 million.
Goncalo Inacio’s rise to prominence has been accompanied by impressive statistics. In the past 12 months, he has excelled in several key areas compared to other European centre-backs. FBref reports his ability to progress the ball is evident in his ranking among the top 1% for progressive passes per game and the top 3% for progressive carries. His pass completion rate of 89.2% places him in the top 9%. He’s also among the top 10% for successful take-ons (0.5 per match).
Apart from his technical prowess, Inacio’s physical attributes make him a desirable prospect. As journalist Steve Kay noted on The Empire of the Kop Podcast, he’s “a beast” and is “hard in the tackle”. Furthermore, Inacio’s left-footedness provides a unique advantage in a Liverpool defense dominated by right-footed players.
Liverpool’s Persistence and January Plans
During the summer transfer window, Liverpool’s primary focus was on bolstering their midfield, a mission that saw them splash around £150 million to acquire midfield talents such as Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo, and Ryan Gravenberch.
Despite the budget setback, Liverpool has not abandoned its pursuit of Gonçalo Inacio. According to reports, the club is actively monitoring the defender ahead of the January transfer window. As Kay revealed,
“I was told yesterday that Liverpool are still very, very interested in signing Goncalo Inacio. According to my sources, talks have continued since deadline day over the possibility of signing him in January.”
Furthermore, according to Anfield Watch, the club has allocated a budget of €70 million (£60 million) to secure a top-class centre-half in 2024. The club views this position as a priority, with Inacio appearing to be at the top of their wishlist.
The Road Ahead
At just 22 years old, Goncalo Inacio combines youth with experience, having played nearly 130 senior games for club and country. His tenacity, composure on the ball, and left-footed ability make him an ideal candidate to strengthen Liverpool’s defense.
Inacio’s release clause may have increased. However, Liverpool’s commitment to securing his signature remains steadfast.
As the transfer window approaches, all eyes will be on Liverpool’s pursuit of Inacio, with fans eager to see if the Portuguese defender will eventually join the ranks at Anfield.
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