Liverpool could sign dream Inacio alternative in £39m machine

Before the start of the season, Liverpool supporters faced much uncertainty after watching the Anfield side slump to a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League, failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2016.

Admittedly, the stark decline wasn’t quite out of the blue, with a lack of investment compounding an ageing and weary squad that craved some fresh energy, and there were even question marks lingering over the sustainability of Jurgen Klopp’s leadership heading forward.


But, as they say, form is temporary and the German manager proved his worth as one of the elite leaders of his generation after enforcing emphatic change last summer, welcoming stars such as Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister while clearing the flotsam that had cluttered and disrupted the 2022/23 term.

And so the midfield conundrum has been addressed and Liverpool are back firing on all cylinders this season, first-placed in the Premier League after 20 matches and in contention for silverware across all three cup competitions, but the defence still suffers from a lack of depth and this is now the priority area.

Liverpool’s search for a defender

Joel Matip’s season-ending injury heightened the need for defensive reinforcements but the veteran Cameroonian was out of contract at the end of the campaign anyway and Jarell Quansah’s emergence this season has eased the need for action this month.

There have been numerous rumours floating around but the latest does have the shape of that traditional Klopp signing – a rising star of high potential and perhaps attracting less attention than the most highly-sought names on the market.


Liverpool could sign Van Dijk clone in move for “special” 6ft 1 star

This Premier League phenom is an even bigger talent than Jarell Quansah.

According to TNCZ, Liverpool are hoping to sign Feyenoord centre-back David Hancko this year, and while Paris Saint-Germain have also expressed an interest, the Reds could be well-placed to secure his signature.

The Dutch Eredivisie champions value the 26-year-old at €45m (£39m) and this would be more than affordable for the Anfield side in the summer.

David Hancko’s style of play

Hancko has completed 70 matches for Feyenoord since joining from Czech giants Sparta Prague in 2022, scoring five goals and providing seven assists.

Not quite the typical central defender, Hancko operates in a free-roaming role and is comfortable when shifted out wide or placed in the central engine room, with statistical site WhoScored listing his most significant attributes as: key passing, dribbling, distribution and concentration.

As per FBref, Hancko ranks among the top 1% of centre-backs across divisions similar to the Dutch Eredivisie for assists, shot-creating actions, passes attempted, progressive passes and progressive carries per 90, highlighting his lofty advantage in mobility and technical quality.


The Slovakian sensation was instrumental in Feyenoord’s triumph in the Dutch top-flight last season, playing 31 times, posting two goals and four assists, completing 88% of his passes, averaging 2.3 tackles and 3.3 clearances per game, succeeding with 72% of his dribbles and winning 75% of his contested duels, as per Sofascore.

Described as a top “talent” by Foot Mercato journalist Santi Aouna, Hancko would provide Klopp’s side with the perfect extra dimension to expand the depth and dynamism on Merseyside, proving to be the perfect replacement for the absent and likely outgoing Matip.

Furthermore, his stylistic approach mirrors that of Sporting Lisbon centre-half Goncalo Inacio, and given Liverpool’s interest in the Portugal international, it might be wise for full focus to be shifted to the cheaper option in Hancko.

How David Hancko compares to Goncalo Inacio

Inacio is known to be among the contenders for transfer at Liverpool and will be discussed on the transfer committee when the summer market draws closer.

The 22-year-old has a €60m (£52m) release clause in his contract and Sporting are not likely to grant his departure for anything below this fee, having convinced him to pen new terms in August when clubs like Liverpool were sniffing around.

Ranking among the top 1% of positional peers for passes attempted and progressive passes, the top 3% for assists, the top 4% for progressive carries, the top 7% for successful take-ons and the top 8% for assists per 90, it’s clear that Inacio is something of a “sensation“, as has been said by talent scout Jacek Kulig, though he’s not quite matching Hancko.

David Hancko vs Goncalo Inacio: 23/24 Stat Comparison

Stat (per 90)



Matches played









Pass completion



Progressive passes



Progressive carries



Shot-creating actions



Successful take-ons



Ball recoveries















Aerial duels won



*Sourced by FBref

Given that Inacio is considered one of the benchmarks for the new modern, progressive wave of central defenders gracing the European game, it’s pretty impressive that Hancko eclipses him in most possession-based, creative and technical elements.

Moreover, while the Leões titan appears to be more active in his defensive duties, he has only won 51% of his contested duels in Liga Portugal this term, which hardly suggests that he can provide the kind of dominance in key battles for Klopp’s side.

On this point, young Quansah, still in his infancy on the major stage, has won 61% of his duels in the Premier League since making his debut back in August.


Naturally, Hancko has won 75% in his league this season and is proving himself to be the kind of multi-functional asset that Klopp could shape into a true world-beater under his wing.

The Slovak is four years Inacio’s senior and admittedly the latter does have more scope for growth, but Liverpool are nurturing Quansah to the fore and could make fine use of a player already established in their game, reading to take the next step in their development – take Wataru Endo, for example.

Ultimately, Liverpool will have money to spend to freshen up the defence next season and now it boils down to Klopp’s preference and the decided best fit for the club, but Hancko – rumoured to be £13m cheaper than Inacio – could be the man for the job.

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