Chelsea have told Sporting that they’re ready to pay the release clause to sign reported Liverpool target Manuel Ugarte.
The Uruguay midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield over recent weeks. Ugarte’s agent even publicly declared Liverpool’s interest in his client. But after reportedly being scolded by Sporting for speaking to the player without their permission, links have since gone a little quiet.
Instead, rivals from across Europe and the Premier League now seem to be taking the initiative. Yesterday, PSG were said to have already sealed the signing of Ugarte. Although that seems premature, French journalist Santi Aouna has now Tweeted that the Paris club, along with Chelsea and Newcastle United are right in the mix for the 22-year-old.
“PSG offered 60M€ [£52m] to Sporting for Ugarte. Paris wants to pay this amount in instalments,” he wrote. “[PSG sporting director] Campos and [Ugarte’s agent] J.Mendes already have an agreement in principle.
“Chelsea and Newcastle have also informed Sporting that they are ready to pay 60M€ for Ugarte.”
Liverpool let Ugarte slip away
With reliable sources confirming the interest of other clubs, Liverpool’s race for Ugarte looks to be run. Two of the three clubs mentioned here can offer the Uruguayan Champions League football next season. For the first time in seven years, the Reds can’t.
Not that that’s the reason behind Liverpool not being in the mix, we can’t say that for sure. But on paper, there’s no other reason they shouldn’t be in for Ugarte.
If Chelsea can be in and amongst it having finished in the bottom half of the Premier League this season, then the Reds have got no excuse.
Ugarte been excellent for Sporting this season and looks like a potentially world-class defensive midfielder in the making.
With Fabinho perhaps in need of replacing sooner rather than later, Ugarte would seem almost perfect. Available with a not outrageous release clause and most likely asking for more than manageable wages, he should fit Liverpool’s remit in the market.
It could be that Fabinho’s mini end-of-season resurgence might just have convinced Jurgen Klopp to kick the No.6 can down the road, though. Other areas of the midfield are probably more urgently in need of repair. As a result, maybe Klopp feels he can manage with Fab and Stefan Bajcetic for another year.
In our opinion, allowing Ugarte to join Chelsea, Newcastle or PSG without a fight would be a mistake. But that’s what currently looks like happening.