Chelsea green light swoop for £51m Liverpool ‘top target’ after Pochettino ‘asks’ for specific signing

Lewis Oldham
Chelsea target Inacio
Goncalo Inacio in action for Sporting Lisbon.

According to reports, Chelsea are set to make a move for Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio, who has been linked with rivals Liverpool.

Inacio was heavily linked with a potential move to the Premier League throughout the summer transfer window.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United were all linked with the centre-back before Liverpool identified him as their ‘top target’ as they look to recruit Virgil van Dijk’s long-term replacement.

Liverpool prioritised signing new midfielders in the summer, with £150m being invested to sign Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch.

Chelsea meanwhile have spent over £1bn since Todd Boehly’s consortium bought the Premier League club last year. Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia, Cole Palmer and Christopher Nkunku were among their marquee summer signings as they invested around £450m into strengthening Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.

Inacio has emerged as one of Portugal’s best young players and the 22-year-old has played over 100 times for Sporting Lisbon since making his senior debut for them during the 2020/21 campaign.

The defender was valued £39m in the summer but Sporting Lisbon’s asking price may now be higher as he’s penned a new long-term contract. It’s been reported that this new deal includes a release clause worth around £51m.

Spanish outlet Fichajes are reporting that Chelsea ‘likes Inacio a lot’ and he’s become one of Pochettino’s ‘main options’.

The new Chelsea head coach ‘has asked them to make an economic effort to acquire Inacio and the club would be willing to pay a good sum of money to acquire his services’ during the January transfer window.

However it is noted that Chelsea face ‘tough competition’ in the race to sign Inacio as they are ‘not the only club interested’ in him ahead of January.

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Chelsea boss Pochettino recently suggested that it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Premier League club have spent £1bn on signings since last year.

“You can talk about being very surprised about (the billion-pound landmark), or not,” said Pochettino. “It depends. Today football is… we need to evolve. Today it’s different. Completely different. We manage a different type of numbers.

“If 20 years ago we had thought this was going to happen, maybe no one would believe it. But today, it’s normal in football, this type of money moving around.

“It’s a big business, football. And we cannot stop. I think we all get the benefit here, no? I think we cannot be hypocrites. To be involved in football in different areas, you (the press) there or me here. We are living all (what) that business produces.

“I’m not going to be here to give lessons to anyone, but I think football is about getting a good balance. For me, yes Chelsea is spending money. But also it’s selling players. Money in and money out.

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