Newcastle United transfer target Goncalo Inacio has been rewarded for his impressive form at Sporting Lisbon with a call-up to the Portugal senior team.
It was reported earlier this month that the Magpies were still interested in signing the 20-year-old centre-back despite the player reportedly signing a new contract with the Portuguese giants (Calciomercato).
Newcastle actually reportedly made a £25million bid for Inacio, who won the Portuguese league title with Sporting last season, during the January transfer window, but like many other targets a move didn’t come to fruition (Desporto Ao Minuto).
With Manchester City’s Ruben Dias ruled out of Portugal’s forthcoming World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final against Turkey, and a potential final meeting with Italy, Inacio has been called-up by Fernando Santos.
Inacio has made 36 appearances this season which have brought four goals and two assists.
Sporting Lisbon’s number 25 has built on last season’s breakthrough campaign and has become a mainstay in Ruben Amorin’s side and his standout performances at club level have prompted international recognition.
With Pepe and Jose Fonte the two senior centre-halves in Santos’ Portugal squad, Inacio will be hoping the national team manager favours youth over experience.
In Sporting’s 3-1 win against Vitoria de Guimaraes last night, Inacio had 97 touches and produced a dominant defensive performance.
As well as finishing the game with 89% passing accuracy, Inacio made two clearances and five tackles. The youngster also won nine duels (five ground, four aerial).
Showcasing his passing range, the ball-playing centre-halve completed eight long balls.
Inacio’s call-up to the senior Portugal team is likely to have caught the attention of several of Europe’s top clubs and this could prompt further competition for his signature in the summer window.
Newcastle have the financial pull to gain the upper hand in the race for Inacio and if he helps Portugal book their place in Qatar, his reputation will rightly soar to new heights.
It’s unclear where Goncalo Inacio lies in Newcastle’s summer priorities, but a successful start to international football could see Eddie Howe instruct PIF to reignite the Magpies’ interest in the Portuguese talent.
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