Manchester United drop out of race for Liverpool target Goncalo Inacio

Manchester United have dropped out of the race for Liverpool target Goncalo Inacio, according to reports. 

This update comes from Football Insider. They report that Manchester United have 'abandoned' deals for two January targets, one of which is Sporting CP defender Goncalo Inacio.

United supposedly have 'limited resources' in January and are likely to turn their attention to lower-cost alternatives to their top centre-back targets. That would leave Inacio available to any other potential suitors.

That's largely because the Portugal star's contract has a release clause in it. He's contracted to Sporting until 2027, having signed a new deal this summer, but has a release clause sitting at around €60m (£52m).

Liverpool are thought to be one of the teams fronting the race for Inacio. There were links, primarily from Portugal, all summer long and it was recently claimed that there were scouts from the Reds watching Inacio play Bosnia during the October international break.

United leaving the race would remove one potential stumbling block, should Liverpool press forward in January.

Inacio only turned 22 in August and is one of the most promising young centre-backs in European football. He's also a left-footed defender – something that carries a premium at the top level.

Anfield Watch understands that strengthening the defence will be a priority for Liverpool in 2024, with a left-sided centre back high on the agenda.

Virgil van Dijk, who currently holds down the left-sided centre-back spot, is now 32 and the Reds will need to think about succession planning sooner rather than later.

In addition, Joel Matip is set to leave on a free transfer at the end of his contract in 2024, while there have been doubts over Andy Robertson's suitability to Jurgen Klopp's new tactical system.

Time will tell if Liverpool do try to sign Inacio but they may have a free-enough run at him in January, if the latest reports are to be believed.

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