Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Manchester United Are Keeping Tabs On This Sporting Defender: Should Ten Hag Snap Him Up?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, Record (via Sport Witness) stated that Manchester United are keeping tabs on Sporting CP defender Gonçalo Inácio. It has been claimed that the Red Devils are eyeing a move to secure the services of the Portuguese centre-back this summer.

Inacio’s Impressive Form At The Jose Alvalade Stadium

Inacio is experiencing a solid campaign in Portuguese football after he put in a series of dominant displays for Sporting on the defensive end of the pitch. The 21-year-old has participated in 48 matches for the Portuguese giants this season, finding the back of the net on three occasions and grabbing three assists across various competitions.

The Almada-born talent has been a rock at the back for Sporting as he is averaging 1.1 tackles, 1.3 key passes and 1.9 clearances per 90 minutes in Liga Portugal. He has even been accurate when distributing possession from the back based on his pass success rate of 89.8% in the top tier of Portuguese football (stats via whoscored).

His current contract at the Jose Alvalade Stadium is set to expire in 2026. Thus, Man United will find it difficult to land him on the cheap this summer.

Gonçalo Inácio
Sporting’s Portuguese defender Goncalo Inacio attends a training session at Cristiano Ronaldo academy training ground in Alcochete, on the eve of the UEFA Europa league quarter final second leg football match between Sporting CP and Juventus on April 19, 2023. (Photo by FILIPE AMORIM / AFP) (Photo by FILIPE AMORIM/AFP via Getty Images)

Should Manchester United Boss Erik Ten Hag Snap Inacio Up?

Inacio is a good tackler of the ball and can sense the danger quickly to secure the ball back for his side inside his half. He doesn’t mind clearing his lines when the opposition are on the front football. Standing at 1.85m, the gifted defender can use his strong frame to win a few aerial duels for his team. He is even proficient at playing his way out from the back.

Someone of Inacio’s skillset and potential will no doubt add more quality to Man United head coach Erik ten Hag‘s defence in the long run. He is good enough to serve as a decent backup to Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane at Old Trafford.

Thus, the Red Devils should consider going all out to snap Inacio up during this summer transfer period. At 21, the future is quite bright for the Portuguese defensive ace as long as he continues to develop his all-around game with each season.

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