• Pedro Goncalves has scored 15 goals for Sporting this season
  • He has an experience in England having played for Wolves in the past
  • Goncalves has a release clause of $71 million at Sporting

Manchester United have reportedly identified Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Goncalves as a cheaper alternative to Jadon Sancho ahead of the 2021 summer transfer window.

Goncalves, who has scored 15 goals and five assists for Sporting this season, is contracted with the Lisbon-based club until 2025 but has a release clause of $71 million, which is certainly lesser than Sancho’s reported fee of $292 million, the soccer website 90 Min reported.

The Red Devils have been in search of a right winger for some time now. While they had shortlisted quite a few players last summer, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho was at the top of their target list. Courtesy of his hefty release clause at Dortmund, where he is contracted until 2024 -- a deal between Manchester United and the German club had not materialized.

After graduating from Premier League club Wolves’ youth set up and making one senior appearance for the club, Goncalves moved to Famalicão in the Portuguese’s top-flight league, Primeira Liga. In the 2019-20 campaign, the young winger made 40 appearances, across all competitions, scoring seven goals. During the 2020 January transfer window, Sporting lost their key playmaker Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United. At the end of the season, the Portuguese side signed Goncalves on a five-year deal.

In the absence of Fernandes, Goncalves has flourished at Sporting. Even though he is a right winger, he has accepted the central role on a number of occasions without any fuss to carter the void left by the departure of the 26-year-old Fernandes. Sporting are currently 10 points clear at the top of the 2020-21 Primeira Liga table. Sporting have won four out of their last five league matches and overall, are yet to lose a league game in the underway campaign, winning 19 and four draws.

The fact that Goncalves has spent time in England in the past will further strengthen his possible move to Old Trafford. In addition to that, Manchester United have had a successful history of signing top players from Sporting. Manchester United signed Cristiano Ronaldo from the club at a mere fee of $17 million in 2003 and more recently roped in Fernandes in January 2020 for $65 million. While Ronaldo had become a superstar at Manchester United, Fernandes has made a major difference since his arrival in the Premier League.

Bruno Fernandes's stunning strike could only salvage a 1-1 draw for Manchester United at West Brom
Bruno Fernandes moved from Sporting to Manchester United in January 2020 POOL / Naomi Baker

Fernandes has netted 35 goals and 21 assists since his Red Devils debut in February 2020 and had played a key role in the Red Devils’ top-four finish in the previous season.