Steve Kay has suggested the potential signing of Goncalo Inacio of Sporting CP in January could be exactly what is required to propel Liverpool into a title challenge.
Four games into the league season, the Reds haven’t failed to impress, winning 10 points out of a possible 12 from a challenging open bout of fixtures, including meetings with Chelsea and Newcastle United.
The Portuguese defender was linked with a switch to Anfield throughout the window, though a move never quite materialised amid the club’s hunt for central midfielders.
“Make no doubts about this. Since breaking into the first team, he’s become a breakout star in Portugal,” the Football Transfers journalist spoke on the EOTK Insider show.
“I think he’s made around 120 appearances, registering 11 goals and eight assists from the centre-back position. He’s a threat going forward in the air, has an excellent passing range, he’s also left-footed! Which we know is very hard to come by.
“He’s got so many different attributes. He’s fantastic at driving out of defence, he’s a tough tackler… for me, this is an elite defender.
“If Klopp can get this one over the line in January, who knows? They could be pushing for the title, they really could.”
That could be about to change relatively soon, with Kay sharing details of Liverpool’s budget and the affordability of Sporting’s release clause for the 22-year-old.
The reporter went on to add: “He has got every single attribute, I feel, to bring at Liverpool and be that successor for one of the big players, Konate or Van Dijk for years to come.
“The big thing for me is the way I’ve been told he’s Klopp’s No.1 target.”
Though we’re in no rush to enter a future without Virgil van Dijk, it’s certainly sensible that we’ve begun planning for life without our talismanic No.4.
An ability to contribute to build-up play with his passing range and demonstrate reliability in possession (as illustrated by a 91st percentile ranking for pass completion rate compared to his centre-back peers, according to FBref), will be key for the future of our backline.
Standing at only 6ft tall, we’d have concerns, of course, over whether the Portuguese star could be as aerially dominant as our Dutch colossus, though it’s reassuring to hear that the player is rated in that department in the Primeira Liga.