Liverpool upgrade takes shape as Klopp strategy inspires new £40m defender mission

Liverpool have eyed a promising Portuguese centre-back as a potential upgrade for one of their existing squad players, while Chelsea are seen as one of the leading challengers for a Serie A star – all in Wednesday’s European transfer gossip.


Liverpool scouts have reportedly put a close eye on Sporting defender Goncalo Inacio.

Inacio is now in his third season with the Sporting first-team, for which he has accumulated more than 100 appearances. The left-footed player, just 21, could be ready to take the next step in his career.

It recently emerged that Inacio is on Liverpool’s shortlist as they consider defensive reinforcements. Their midfield has been their main concern this season, but the back line has not escaped scrutiny.

And now reports in Spanish media have revealed that Liverpool have stepped up their pursuit of Inacio.

It has been claimed that they sent scouts to watch the Portugal U21 international in action for his club on Monday. The occasion in question was a 2-0 win for Sporting over Estoril.

Inacio happened to come on for former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates in the second half.

The youngster played his part in keeping Sporting clean. During his cameo, Inacio won all three of his aerial duels, made two clearances and two interceptions each, successfully won the only tackle he attempted, and was never dribbled past.

For context, Coates only gained one air, made one clearance and no interceptions or tackles. In other words, Inacio beat him in half the time.

Liverpool’s scouts may want a larger sample size to assess Inacio, who started 19 league games for Sporting earlier this season. But you will still have seen some encouraging signs.

The Spanish report has claimed that Inacio’s transfer value is currently €23m, which is just over £20m. However, Sporting won’t let him go that easily as they have him under contract until 2026.

On closer inspection, Inacio’s value is €23 million transfer market. In reality, Sporting’s asking price might be higher than this website’s estimate. They may even feel entitled to point to his €45m (£40m) release clause.

Therefore, some tough negotiations could be ahead. But Liverpool are preparing for some defensive changes which means they need to consolidate their plans.

Inacio could replace Nat Phillips

For example, the same report confirms that Nat Phillips will finally be sold by Liverpool in the summer. The academy graduate simply needs to pursue his career elsewhere to avoid wasting his chance as a professional despite some respectable performances in the past.

It is likely that Inacio will cost more than Phillips, whose own next target is not yet clear. But that would be sensible for Liverpool as they are likely to use the potential signing a lot more (especially if Joel Matip leaves too).

In fact, Inacio could develop into an influential player if he continues his current pace of development. Previous reports rated him highly enough to suggest that he could be Virgil van Dijk’s long-term successor.

And the latest claim is a reminder that Jurgen Klopp likes to mold young defenders. Therefore, Inacio could be the next potential signing to benefit from his strategy.

For now, however, he would have to slowly earn his place at Liverpool. You’ve watched him several times nownot just this week so their interest seems concrete and they have a long term plan for him.

Inacio could be the next player Liverpool sign from the Portuguese top flight following the arrival of Darwin Nunez from Benfica and Luis Diaz from Porto in 2022. But it seems that no offer is too far advanced and they are only at the starting phase of gathering information.


Rafael Leao (Milan) at the Italian "Series A" Match between Sassuolo 0-0 Milan at Mapei Stadium on August 30, 2022 in Reggio Emilia, Italy

Chelsea are one of the leading contenders for Rafael Leao and are still in touch with the AC Milan agent. (Gazzetta Dello Sport)

West Ham’s new signing Gianluca Scamacca is already pondering his future at the club after splitting from his agent. (Calciomercato)

Real Madrid are watching how Bruno Guimaraes is doing at Newcastle United. (Mundo Deportivo)

Leicester City have inquired about Inter midfielder Roberto Gagliardini. (FC Inter News)

The Foxes are also watching Lecce’s Morten Hjulmand, who plays in a similar position. (Nicolo Schira)

Leeds United and Fulham follow the young Paris Saint-Germain defender. El Chadaille Bitshiabu. (Jeunes Footeux)

Inter would consider appointing Jurgen Klopp to replace Simone Inzaghi but only if he leaves Liverpool first. (La Stampa)

Nottingham Forest and Wolves watch Espanyol defender Cesar Montes. (La Gradad de Spain)

Liverpool flop Naby Keita could return to the Bundesliga with either RB Leipzig or Borussia Dortmund. (Picture)

Luis Enrique will not take the Brazil job but could replace Graham Potter at Chelsea. (Diario Sport)

However, Atletico Madrid have already made Enrique a three-year contract offer. (El Chiringuito)


Caglar Soyuncu prepares for a game at Leicester City

Roma are considering a move for Leicester defender Caglar Soyuncu if he becomes a free agent. (SportItalia)

Benfica’s Antonio Silva is the latest defensive target for Real Madrid. (Record)

Borussia Dortmund believe they almost reached a verbal agreement with Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Daichi Kamada. (Fabrizio Romano)

Frankfurt have also decided against extending the contract of defender Almamy Toure, who is leaving on a free transfer this summer. (Picture)

The Italian Football Federation is investigating a clash between Jose Mourinho and a fourth official who allegedly verbally abused him after the Roma head coach was sent off. (Gazzetta Dello Sport)

Juventus could sack Juan Cuadrado in the summer, although the former Chelsea full-back is willing to stay. (Gianluca di Marzio)

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels is considering extending his contract, leaving or retiring. (Picture)

Ajax are keen to extend the contract of experienced goalkeeper Remko Pasveer. (Voetbal International)

Blackburn Rovers manager Jon Dahl Tomasson is the favorite to replace Arne Slot at Feyenoord in the summer. (

Bologna are close to an agreement to sign Max Johnson from Motherwell. (Corriere dello Sport)

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