Arsenal join Goncalo Inacio race?

Arsenal reportedly join the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United in the race to sign Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio.

Arsenal have reportedly joined the long list of clubs interested in a move for Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio this summer.

The 21-year-old has quickly developed into a key player for Ruben Amorim‘s side, already making 122 appearances for Sporting across all competitions.

Inacio has contributed 11 goals and eight assists from the heart of defence in that time, winning one Primeira Liga title, one Taca da Liga and one Portuguese Super Cup.

The 6ft 1in defender enjoyed another positive individual season last term with four goals and three assists from 50 matches in all tournaments, and he earned his two first caps for Portugal earlier this year.

In April of last year, Sporting tied Inacio down to a new long-term deal until the summer of 2026, although that contract reportedly includes a €45m (£38.6m) release clause.

Goncalo Inacio celebrates scoring for Sporting Lisbon on March 9, 2023© Reuters

Such a fee would not pose a problem for Premier League clubs, with all of Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle United thought to be keeping an eye on the situation.

Now, Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha – via Sport Witness – claims that Arsenal have also registered an interest in Inacio, and Sporting are prepared to be flexible with his release clause.

Rather than demanding the full amount up front, the Portuguese giants would reportedly be happy to accept an initial €35m (£30.1m) plus €10m (£8.6m) in performance-related add-ons.

Furthermore, Inacio supposedly feels that now is the time to make the move to the Premier League, and he is unlikely to enter talks with Sporting over another contract extension.

Arsenal faced Inacio during the last 16 of the 2022-23 Europa League and conceded to the centre-back in their opening 2-2 draw in Lisbon, before Amorim’s men knocked the Gunners out on penalties.

 Sporting CP's Goncalo Inacio during the warm up before the match on February 12, 2022© Reuters

During the second leg of that tie, key Arsenal defender William Saliba was forced off with a back injury, which would prematurely end the Frenchman’s impressive debut campaign in North London.

Arsenal ceded first place in the Premier League to Manchester City in the final weeks of the campaign during Saliba’s absence, and Mikel Arteta is keen to address such defensive frailties for the 2023-24 season.

The Gunners are expected to seal the £40m signing of Ajax’s Jurrien Timber next week, and the Dutchman is set to provide competition for Takehiro Tomiyasu on the right-hand side.

Ben White could therefore revert to a central role as cover for Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, while Rob Holding is supposedly in talks over a loan move to Besiktas.

Arsenal have already brought Kai Havertz to the club from Chelsea this summer and are understood to be closing in on the £105m capture of Declan Rice from West Ham United as they try to agree a payment structure with the Hammers.

ID:517548:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect6762: