In what looks to be another blow to Liverpool this summer transfer window, Gonçalo Inácio looks set to sign a new contract with Sporting Lisbon.
Despite being linked with a whole host of clubs, including Newcastle United, PSG and Manchester United, it seems that the 21-year-old defender, described by Football Insider as Liverpool's "top target" for the left-sided centre-back position, is going to stay put - for the time being at least.
According to Fabrizio Romano on Thursday afternoon, an “agreement has been reached in the recent hours”.
The "long-term contract" will significantly increase Inácio's release clause to €60 million (£51 million), according to the Italian.
EXCL: Gonçalo Inácio, set to sign new deal at Sporting, agreement has been reached in the recent hours 🚨⚪️🟢
Portuguese CB linked with PL move will sign new long term contract with new release clause.
Understand new exit clause will be worth €60m. pic.twitter.com/fqx8ZNE3VP
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 17, 2023
Will this put Liverpool off?
However, despite this update, Diario de Noticias claims that this won't hinder a move.
That's because the Portuguese outlet believes that the numbers involved are not quite so high, with the clause moving from £38.5 to £42.7 million - a fee Liverpool are reportedly still willing to match.
Perfect match for a problem position
While all of the attention has been on Liverpool's pursuit of new central midfielders, attempts to resolve another problem position seemingly have gone under the radar.
Despite being just 21 years old, Inácio already has extensive first-team experience, having played 120 times for Sporting Lisbon since the start of the 2020/21 campaign. He has also recently made his senior debut for Portugal.
With both Joël Matip and Virgil van Dijk having turned 32 - and experiencing a downturn in form in the past season - links to Inácio make a lot of sense.
The Portuguese is left-footed and would slot in immediately into the left-sided centre-back slot in Jürgen Klopp's new 3-2-2-3 shape.