Manchester United may have already lined up a replacement for Harry Maguire, with Sporting Lisbon’s Goncalo Inacio impressing in the Europa League.
That is according to Portuguese outlet Correo da Manhã Weekend (via SportWitness), who claim that the defender “could have put an end to Manchester United’s doubts” over signing Ignacio on Thursday.
Inacio put in an impressive display against Arsenal during Sporting Lisbon’s 2-2 draw with the Gunners.
He won five duels, completed two successful tackles, and completed an interception against the heavy favourites. He also made three clearances. (SofaScore)
He even got himself on the scoresheet with a precise header into the bottom corner from a Marcus Edward’s corner to bring the score to 1-1 before half time.
The 20-year-old has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in the past and, with a price tag of around €35m, he could be an option for Erik ten Hag in the summer.
Harry Maguire looks likely to leave the club in the next transfer window, while Victor Lindelof’s contract is up for expiry in 2024 and could leave too.
That would leave Ten Hag with only two senior central defenders in his squad. Even if one of the aforementioned United players were to stay on, reinforcement would be needed.
The fact that Inacio is left-footed would be another positive, with the manager favouring his left centre back to play on his stronger side.
In that regard, the Sporting starlet would serve as an understudy to Lisandro Martinez, who has been imperious since signing for the club.
It is notable that, in his absence after winning the World Cup, Ten Hag opted to use Luke Shaw in central defence rather than either Lindelof or Maguire.
That only goes to show how much value the Dutchman places on using a natural left-footer in the position, and with United’s schedule likely to be busy again next season, having the opportunity to rotate Martinez out of the squad on occasion would be a huge positive.
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