The Sporting Lisbon defender is the “complete” package…

There is a clear emphasis on upgrading the ranks at Liverpool this summer, with Alexis Mac Allister’s £35m arrival from Brighton & Hove Albion likely to be followed by further midfield additions after James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all concluded their contracts.

Indeed, Fabrizio Romano confirmed that the club’s sporting director Jorg Schmadtke is looking at signing two more midfielders, as well as a central defender, favourably left-footed.

Which is why rumours tethering Sporting Lisbon prodigy Goncalo Inacio to the Anfield side’s intrigue could bear fruit, with the 21-year-old centre-half a ball-playing ace with a home on the left side of the central defence.

According to a report from Football Insider earlier last, the Portuguese talent is on Liverpool’s list, with sources confirming that the club will ‘100% complete’ a defensive signing over the coming months.

But with Inacio contracted to the Leões until 2026 a deal might prove tricky, with different reports claiming that despite the player holding a €45m (£38m) release clause in his contract, Manchester United and Newcastle United are also eyeing a swoop.

How good is Goncalo Inacio?

Liverpool’s season ended in chastening fashion as Jurgen Klopp’s outfit failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in seven seasons despite constructing a seven-match winning streak late in the campaign.

Two draws to close the term reminded the Reds’ hierarchy that there is much work to be done this summer, but the damage has already been done and Manchester United and Newcastle United clinched top four spots despite both ceding territory in the final weeks.

There will be every belief that a return to free-flowing feats can be achieved after an impressive summer transfer window, and as such the club must throw the kitchen sink at signing Inacio, whose defensive prowess and ball-playing aptitude could prove the difference against rival Premier League outfits next year.

Having made 122 appearances since rising through Sporting’s youth ranks, the 21-year-old has already been hailed as “complete” by scout Jacek Kulig for his performances.

Indeed, as per Sofascore, the two-cap Portugal international has earned an impressive average rating of 7.01 in Liga Portugal after starting 26 matches, scoring one goal, making three assists, completing 90% of his passes and succeeding with 89% of his attempted dribbles.

He is, therefore, one of the best ball-playing defenders in the business, illustrated by FBref, who provide metrics ranking him among the top 2% of centre-backs across Men’s Next 8 divisions – the leagues below the top European five – for assists and shot-creating actions, the top 1% for passes attempted and progressive passes, the top 3% for progressive carries and the top 4% for successful take-ons per 90.

With this in mind, he could be the gem needed to rival Manchester City phenom Ruben Dias, with the distinguished Portugal international also arriving on English shores from his homeland, signing for Pep Guardiola’s outfit from Benfica for £65m in 2020.

Dias has won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and the Champions League with the Citizens and has been heralded as a “man mountain” by former City defender Michael Ball.

Comparatively, £180k-per-week titan ranks among the top 2% of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues for pass completion and the top 1% for passes attempted per 90, boasting a passing proficiency that has provided a foundation for such incredible illustrious success at the Etihad Stadium.

Dubbed “immense” by one analyst, Inacio could emulate this on Merseyside and must be signed if Klopp hopes to close the distance on the Sky Blues once again and continue to win silverware, casting aside the disappointment of a lacklustre campaign with a galvanising signing.


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