Manchester United have sent a scout to Portugal to monitor a new central defender to likely replace Harry Maguire at Old Trafford under Erik ten Hag.
Lisandro Martínez, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Sergio Reguilón, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are all currently sidelined, meaning the club are well short of options in defence – and are reportedly targeting a January move.
It is said that Ten Hag is interested in the highly-rated Sporting Lisbon central defender Gonçalo Inácio with the club looking to launch a bid in January to secure the services of the 22-year-old.
This is according to The Sun, which explains that the United have sent a scout to “closely monitor” the Portuguese international player over the coming months. The scout has been ordered to watch the centre-back play at least three times a month.
Harry Maguire, who was free to leave the club in the summer, is almost certainly going to be departing at this season’s end, and signing Inácio will be viewed as bringing in the England defender’s replacement six months ahead of time.
The scout was at Sporting’s last game, a 3-2 victory over S.C. Faranse, and will also attend Thursday’s Europa League tie against Atalanta.
Inácio recently signed a new contract with Sporting which contains a release clause of £52 million – a figure that United are “prepared to match”. Since his debut in 2020, Inácio has made 130 appearances, scoring 11 goals.
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