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Liverpool 'told to pay £40m for in-demand Sporting Lisbon defender'

Liverpool 'told to pay £40m for in-demand Sporting defender'
© Reuters
Liverpool are reportedly told to fork out £40m if they wish to secure the services of Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio this summer.

Liverpool have reportedly learned what it will take to prise one of Sporting Lisbon's highly-rated centre-backs away from the club this summer.

After a successful midfield rebuild ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, the Merseyside giants are expected to prioritise additions to their defensive ranks for the post-Jurgen Klopp era.

Joel Matip - who will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury - is out of contract in June, while Rhys Williams, Sepp van den Berg and Nat Phillips do not appear to have futures at Anfield either.

In addition, club captain Virgil van Dijk is only under contract until the end of next season, while Ibrahima Konate has been plagued by a handful of injury problems since joining the club.

With Michael Edwards now working with Fenway Sports Group as their CEO of Football and Richard Hughes's appointment as sporting director confirmed, the Reds are ramping up their search for a Klopp successor and summer transfer targets.

Portugal's Goncalo Inacio celebrates scoring their first goal on September 11, 2023© Reuters

Liverpool quoted reasonable price tag for Goncalo Inacio

Sporting and Portugal centre-back Goncalo Inacio is one name to have been heavily linked with a Premier League switch, as both Liverpool and Manchester United are said to have taken a liking to him.

According to Football Insider, the two clubs will have to fork out a reasonable £40m if they wish to bring Inacio to England this summer, despite his heftier release clause.

Sporting agreed a long-term contract extension with the 22-year-old last August - his terms now run until the summer of 2027 - and the club shook hands on a €60m (£51.3m) buyout clause with his camp.

However, Ruben Amorim's side are supposedly resigned to losing the left-footed defender at the end of the season, and any sale would go down as pure profit, as Inacio has progressed through the Sporting youth system since 2012.

The six-cap Portugal international now boasts 15 goals and nine assists in 164 matches for Amorim's men across all competitions, including three strikes from nine Europa League appearances this season before Sporting's last-16 defeat to Atalanta BC.

What other centre-backs have Liverpool been linked with?

Ecuador's Piero Hincapie pictured on November 29, 2022© Reuters

Inacio is just one of a handful of highly-rated defenders thought to be on Liverpool's radar, and the Reds could alternatively target an option closer to home in the shape of Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo.

The former Manchester City man could be available as a free agent this summer, but Liverpool may have to fend off Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and AC Milan to bring him to Anfield.

The Reds and Tottenham are also rumoured to be scrapping for the services of Bayer Leverkusen's title-winning defender Piero Hincapie, who is comfortable in the heart of defence or as a left-back.

Ajax's Jorrel Hato represents another versatile target, but the 18-year-old signed a new deal with the Eredivisie giants until 2028 just last month and is also being monitored by Arsenal, who struck a deal with their Dutch counterparts to sign Jurrien Timber last year.

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Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim on December 14, 2023
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