Chelsea are set to tussle with Paris Saint-Germain for the signing of Sporting CP star Manuel Ugarte in the upcoming summer transfer window.
The Uruguay international, 22, has quickly become one of Europe’s most-coveted midfielders following an impressive campaign with Sporting CP, with his 121 successful tackles by far the most in the Liga NOS. He has also shone in Europe, most notably helping Sporting knock out Arsenal from the Europa League Round of 16 in March.
Paris Saint-Germain are understood to have agreed on personal terms with Manuel Ugarte and are prepared to pay his £52m release clause in full. However, there has been a late twist with Chelsea having entered the fray. The Pensioners have reportedly told Sporting they will match PSG’s offer for the 22-year-old having recently sent a club representative out to Lisbon.
Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa have all been heavily linked with Ugarte but none of those clubs have yet made any concrete move.
Mauricio Pochettino faces an uphill task of rebuilding Chelsea
Chelsea’s new manager-in-waiting Mauricio Pochettino is preparing for arguably the biggest transfer window of his career as he looks to make a statement upon arrival at west London.
Pochettino, 51, will want to shake things up at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea enduring one of their worst-ever seasons in the Premier League, having failed to improve under three different managers. The Blues will not play in any European competition next season as they currently lie 12th in the table with two games to spare.
On the evidence of the work Pochettino did at Tottenham, there is hope that the Argentinean tactician has the experience and nous to turn Chelsea’s fortunes around. He will be aiming to build the squad around the likes of Reece James, Enzo Fernandez and Benoit Badiashile whilst also hoping Mason Mount signs a new contract at the club.
Once significant cash has been raised through selling players that are surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino will want to bring in some of his targets that he thinks can make an immediate impact.
Manuel Ugarte on the radar of Chelsea
As far as Chelsea’s midfield unit is concerned, they need someone with a more defensive profile to pair up with Enzo Fernandez and dictate games. N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic have had injury-ridden campaigns, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher and Denis Zakaria have not shown the quality required to compete at the highest level.
Manuel Ugarte, in that regard, could prove to be the perfect partner for Fernandez at the base of Chelsea’s midfield next season. The Sporting CP star represents a clear upgrade on the likes of Kante, Kovacic and Zakaria, with 121 successful tackles in the Portuguese league suggesting how good he is defensively. He will bring balance to Chelsea’s midfield that they have desperately lacked this season whilst being a long-term replacement for the ageing and injury-prone Kante.
PSG are favourites to land Ugarte as negotiations are at an advanced stage with Sporting but Chelsea have not given up and are trying their best to hijack the deal.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.