Newcastle United appear to be in the market to further strengthen their defence in the summer transfer window after signing Nick Pope, Sven Botman and Matt Targett.
It has been reported this month that the Magpies have had an offer in the region of €33m (£28m) rejected by Sporting Lisbon for centre-back Goncalo Inacio, with the Portuguese club looking for a fee to match his €45m (£38m) release clause.
Eddie Howe must push the club to meet those demands, as the 20-year-old tank has the potential to be the ex-Bournemouth coach’s own version of Ruben Dias.
Journalist Zach Lowy previously dubbed Inacio “underrated” and Portuguese football expert Daniel Oliviera compared him to the Manchester City machine, saying: “Dias was always a natural leader and Inácio’s communication may be one area in which he can improve.
“Physically speaking, I believe the young Sporting defender would be able to handle the Premier League, as he is very strong in the tackle and in the air.
“He’s also smart in his defending, as just two bookings all season will tell you. In terms of his quality on the ball, I would probably rate Inácio higher than Dias – he’s very good on the deck and has a 91% pass completion rate in the Primeira Liga this term.
“Like I say, it’s hard to make comparisons. I’m 100% sure about one thing: the 20-year-old Inacio is a better player than Ruben Dias was at the same age.”
His statistics last season suggest that he is at a similar point in his career as Dias was in his last campaign for Sporting. In the 2021/22 Portuguese top flight, Inacio averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.15 in 28 appearances, making 2.3 tackles and interceptions per game and winning 56% of his individual battles.
His compatriot averaged a rating of 7.23 and made 2.2 tackles and interceptions per game – winning 61% of his duels – in 2019/20 to earn himself a move to the Etihad Stadium.
Since making the switch to Manchester, Dias has won two Premier League titles in two campaigns and claimed the Premier League Player of the Season award in 2020/21.
If Inacio can come in and make even half of the impact that his former Sporting team-mate has had, then he would be a sensational signing for the Magpies.
At the age of 20, he has plenty of time left ahead of him to develop and follow in Dias’ footsteps by coming to England and making his mark in the Premier League.
Newcastle must now snap him up and partner him with Sven Botman to form an exciting, young central defensive partnership to hopefully last for many years to come.
AND in other news, Ashworth can seal “exciting” signing as NUFC eye swoop for £20m “generational talent”…