Chelsea are right in the mix to sign Sporting CP midfielder Manuel Ugarte during the summer transfer window, according to a new update.
Is Ugarte impressing this season?
The 22-year-old has emerged as arguably one of the brightest defensive midfielders in Europe currently, already becoming an influential figure at club level. This season, he has made 28 Primeira Liga appearances – 25 of them have been starts – and 10 yellow cards highlight his tenacious style.
Ugarte has also average an eye-catching 3.9 tackles per game for Sporting, as well as an even more impressive six per match in the Europa League, helping them knock out Arsenal earlier in the campaign.
There is plenty of interest in the Uruguayan currently, with Liverpool thought to be big admirers of him, but Chelsea also look likely to be in the race, following a fresh claim.
Could Chelsea snap up Ugarte this summer?
According to Football Insider, the Blues are “in a good position” to sign Ugarte in the summer window, with the club sending scouts to watch him in action. The report mentions Liverpool’s interest, as well as Newcastle United’s, and the midfielder is “believed to be keen on a move to the Premier League this summer even though his deal at Sporting runs until 2026”.
The youngster has a £53m release clause in his current Sporting deal, although the Portuguese would only receive 70% of that money if it was triggered, with former club Famalicao taking the remaining 30%. Ugarte could be a fantastic signing by Chelsea this summer, providing the youth and legs that are badly needed in the middle of the park. His aforementioned tackling statistics show what a formidable player he is, and his ability to cover ground and put out fires is admirable.
With N’Golo Kante now 31 years of age and still not signing a new deal ahead of his current contract’s imminent expiry, the eight-cap Uruguay international could be a perfect long-term replacement, having been hailed for his “superb ability to read the game” and “combination of power & technique” by football talent scout Jacek Kulig.
To pip Liverpool to Ugarte’s signature would also be a big coup, at a time when both clubs are looking to go up a gear after disappointing seasons overall. At 22, he still has so many years ahead of him, and he should only become more influential as the years pass.