Manchester United is looking to strengthen their backline for the next summer and has added Sporting CP defender Goncalo Inacio to their transfer wishlist.
The Portuguese defender was earlier mentioned as Harry Maguire’s possible replacement for this season, but the former United captain stayed at Old Trafford after his trade to West Ham fell through despite the club and player agreeing to a £30 million agreement.
Erik ten Hag, the manager of United, is still committed to strengthening the position next summer despite a lack of player departures this summer, including those of Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, and Teden Mengi, as well as Raphael Varane’s fitness issues and Lisandro Martinez’s extended injury absences.
The team has created a shortlist of four candidates for the role, including Nice center back Jean-Clair Todibo (who United were interested in last summer in the event that Maguire left), Benfica center back Antonio Silva, and Bayer Leverkusen center back Edmond Tapsoba.
The agent for Bruno Fernandes, Miguel Pinho, who also represents Inacio, arranged the agreement that brought the playmaker to Old Trafford in January 2020 and may now be able to arrange another transfer between the clubs. Newcastle and Liverpool are set to compete with the Red Devils for the player.
Inacio, 22, is well-liked at the club and has 129 first-team appearances for the Lisbon giants. Sporting has a proud history of developing young players before selling them off at high rates, including Luis Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo to United in earlier years.
Varane and Martinez’s health problems and injuries, as well as questions over Maguire’s long-term future at United, have forced the team to intensify their search for a center defender. Luke Shaw, who has filled in for Victor Lindelof, has also been sidelined for a considerable amount of time.
Left-footed Inacio would balance out United’s defense and provide Martinez competition on that side of a central defensive combination. United’s scouts have been keeping an eye on Todibo and Tapsoba for several months, and Silva of Benfica is also highly prized.
Although there were concerns about Maguire’s future during the summer transfer window, Inter signed versatile defender Benjamin Pavard from Bayern Munich.
Maguire’s departure would probably be accelerated by the acquisition of a new central defender, while Lindelof and Varane’s long-term futures at the organization would also be called into question. Although no transfer is anticipated as early as January, the club is eager to put a plan in place to ensure that they are ready for the transfer window in the following summer.