Premier League rival leading race for Liverpool target Goncalo Inacio – move 'inevitable'

Goncalo Inacio's January exit from Sporting CP is seen as 'inevitable', with Arsenal best positioned to sign the defender, according to a report.

The 22-year-old centre back was frequently linked with Liverpool over the summer, before signing a contract extension in Lisbon.

However, that new deal came with a €60m (£52m) release clause, with many predicting that the Reds could renew their interest in the January window.

While the Liverpool recruitment team chose to focus on the midfield rebuild over the summer, it is expected that the defence will be the priority area in 2024 and injuries to Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip have mean plans to look for new arrivals are pushed forward.

Inacio was thought to be of interest due to his positioning as a left-sided centre back, who could play in the Jurgen Klopp's system that sees the Reds revert to a back three when Trent Alexander-Arnold pushes into midfield.

One recent report claimed that Liverpool scouts were in the stands as Inacio scored twice in Sporting's Europa League win over Sturm Graz earlier this month.

However, according to A Bola, Liverpool face competition from title rivals Arsenal for Inacio this winter, with the Gunners 'best positioned' to sign the five-cap Portugal international.

The report claims that Inacio will only be allowed to leave for his release clause of £52m but that an exit is already viewed as an 'inevitability', with Sporting preparing to sign Leixões defender Rafael Silva as a replacement.

Real Madrid and Manchester United are among the clubs previously linked with the young defender.

Inacio has been one of Ruben Amorim's top performers for top of the table Sporting so far this season, scoring five times and assisting twice in 25 outings in all competitions.

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