Manchester United are reportedly planning a bid for Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio this summer and the Portuguese wonderkid could be Erik ten Hag’s own version of Ruben Dias at Old Trafford.
According to Portuguese news outlet A Bola (via the Express), United have prepared a bid of £34.1m for the 20-year-old defender and hold an advantage over fellow Premier League sides Newcastle and Wolves, as he would rather join a club competing for major honours.
Erik ten Hag is clearly keen on defensive reinforcements this summer as he looks to improve on a defence that shipped 57 top-flight goals last season and Inacio could be one man to ease United’s woes at the back next season.
The 25-year-old instantly adjusted to the demands of Premier League football and has quickly established himself as one of the top centre-backs in England. That’s backed up by his supremely impressive WhoScored average match ratings that head north of 6.90 in his first two campaigns.
However, when Portuguese football expert Daniel Oliviera was asked to compare Dias and Inacio, he said:
“It’s always difficult to compare players. One obvious difference is that Dias joined Manchester City when he was 23, so he was further along in his development than Inacio, who is still only 20. It is unlikely, therefore, that Inácio could have the same impact as Dias, who was crowned the Premier League’s best player at the end of his first season.
“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.”
Last season saw Inacio make 28 appearances in the Portuguese top-flight, in which he contributed four goals and two assists, averaging an impressive 7/10 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
Therefore, it seems clear that the young centre-back has a huge amount of potential and if he were given regular game time under ten Hag at United, he could even surpass the level of performance we have seen from Dias in the other half of Manchester.