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February 27, 2024
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Arsenal joins race for Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio?

Goncalo Inacio to Arsenal

Arsenal are allegedly among the clubs interested in signing Sporting Lisbon center-back Goncalo Inacio this summer.

The 21-year-old has swiftly established himself as a key player for Ruben Amorim’s team, having already made 122 appearances for Sporting in all competitions.

Inacio has 11 goals and eight assists in that time, winning one Primeira Liga title, one Taca da Liga trophy, and one Portuguese Super Cup.

Last season, the 6ft 1in defender had another productive individual season, scoring four goals and assisting three times in 50 games across all tournaments, and he earned his two first caps for Portugal earlier this year.

Sporting signed Inacio to a new long-term contract until the summer of 2026 in April of last year, albeit the contract apparently includes a €45 million (£38.6 million) release option.

A cost of this magnitude would not be a problem for Premier League clubs, with Liverpool, Manchester United, and Newcastle United all keeping an eye on the situation.

According to Portuguese publication Correio da Manha – via Sport Witness – Arsenal are also interested in Inacio, and Sporting are willing to be flexible with his release clause.

Rather than demanding the entire sum up front, the Portuguese giants are said to be willing to accept an initial €35m (£30.1m) plus €10m (£8.6m) in performance-related bonuses.

Furthermore, Inacio reportedly believes that the moment has come to make the transfer to the Premier League, and he is unlikely to enter into contract extension talks with Sporting.

Arsenal played Inacio in the 2022-23 Europa League final 16 and conceded to him in their first 2-2 draw in Lisbon, before Amorim’s men knocked the Gunners out on penalties.

During the second leg of that match, Arsenal defender William Saliba was forced off with a back injury, effectively ending the Frenchman’s promising rookie season in North London.

During Saliba’s absence, Arsenal lost first position in the Premier League to Manchester City in the final weeks of the season, and Mikel Arteta is eager to solve such defensive flaws for the 2023-24 season.

The Gunners are poised to complete the £40 million transfer of Ajax’s Jurrien Timber next week, and the Dutchman will compete with Takehiro Tomiyasu on the right flank.

Ben White might so return to a central role as cover for Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, while Rob Holding is reportedly in negotiations with Besiktas about a loan move.

Arsenal have already signed Kai Havertz from Chelsea this summer and are said to be closing in on the £105 million signing of Declan Rice from West Ham United as they negotiate a payment plan with the Hammers.

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