Manchester United planned to scout Goncalo Inacio on Sunday, but it all went horribly wrong for the Sporting defender.
We can probably expect to see United target a new centre back in 2024, most likely in the summer transfer window.
Raphael Varane’s future looks far from secure, whilst it’s unclear whether Erik ten Hag really wants to rely on Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof for the long term.
That means several centre backs are already being linked – but one scouting mission hasn’t quite gone to plan…
Goncalo Inacio sent off amid Manchester United scouting claims
Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha reported just a few days ago that United would be watching Sporting’s Goncalo Inacio on Sunday.
The plan was to watch Inacio under ‘maximum pressure’ as he lined up in the big Lisbon derby against Benfica.
United will have been hoping to see Inacio turn in a strong performance in Sporting’s big game – but it all went wrong.
Inacio was booked in the first half and then received his marching orders just six minutes into the second half.
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Inacio completely misjudged a pass and brought down Benfica’s Rafa Silva, resulting in a second yellow card.
That left Sporting a man short for more than 40 minutes and they were made to pay late on as Benfica scored two injury-time goals to snatch a 2-1 win.
This is not what United were looking to see from Inacio, who will no doubt feel heavily responsible for Sporting losing.
United spending big on Inacio would be a surprise
We aren’t expecting United to back away from Inacio after one unfortunate display.
The Portuguese international is one of the top young defenders in Europe and appears to have a huge future at just 22.
One game shouldn’t put United off, but an expensive deal for Inacio still feels a little unlikely in 2024.
United have invested heavily in one left-footed centre back having signed Lisandro Martinez in 2022.
Would Ten Hag really want to play with two left-footed centre backs? That isn’t something we see much of and would be a curious choice.
Ten Hag has been happy to use Luke Shaw in that role when needed and we can’t see United choosing Inacio over some quality right-footed options next summer.