Liverpool are lining up a formal offer for Sporting Lisbon defender Goncalo Inacio, according to the Correio da Manha.
The Portuguese publication claims that the Reds will “prepare a proposal” that should help them win the battle for the 22-year-old’s signature.
A number of other Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, have been credited with an interest in Inacio over the past few months.
However, the Correio da Manha reports that Jurgen Klopp’s side are the likeliest to make a bid during the January transfer window.
Liverpool will have to match Inacio’s release clause
Sporting are sitting top of the Liga Portugal table at the halfway stage of the season and they are very reluctant to lose the centre-back with the club involved in a title race.
However, they will have no choice but to let Inacio leave if the Reds trigger his buyout clause, which currently stands at €60m (£51.5m).
Recruiting a centre-back is a priority
What adds some credibility to this rumour is the fact that the Merseyside club are actively looking to strengthen the centre of defence this month.
Respected journalist Fabrizio Romano reported last week that Liverpool have been contacting agents of centre-halves to enquire about their availability.
Considering that Inacio has a release clause, and it can be activated in January, it would make him an attainable target; more so than other defenders who have been linked.
It has been claimed that the Reds are also interested in Inacio’s teammate Ousmane Diomande. However, the Ivorian is currently away at the African Cup of Nations and his buyout fee is €80m (£69m).
Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo is believed to be another alternative but Nice are reluctant to sell him before the summer. It is, therefore, unsurprising that Inacio has moved to the top of the club’s shortlist of options.