Everything you need to know about Chelsea target Manuel Ugarte
Chelsea have been linked with a move for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Manuel Ugarte and we have gathered everything you need to know about him.
It’s no secret that Chelsea are in need of another rebuild in the summer, as they look set to lose Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic from their midfield, leaving Mauricio Pochettino to look for reinforcements elsewhere.
We’ve looked deeper into Ugarte and his career so far and have everything you need to know about the Uruguayan midfielder.
Who is he?
Ugarte began his professional career with Uruguayan side Fenix. His development was fast-tracked as a youngster as he was involved with the first team from the age of 15.
He made his professional debut at 15 and subsequently became the youngest-ever player to play in Uruguay in the 21st century. Ugarte went on to make 57 appearances for the club and he captained the side at just 18 years old.
Scouts from Portugal quickly picked up on his talents and Famalicao promptly snapped him up in December 2020 for a fee of around £2.6million.
The defensive midfielder impressed during his debut season in Portugal and Sporting Lisbon had seen enough to take a gamble on the youngster just one year later.
Since signing for the Portuguese giants, Ugarte has gone from strength to strength with Sporting Lisbon. Now an established first-team player, it’s no surprise that both Chelsea and PSG are interested.
Where he plays
Under Ruben Amorim, Sporting often line-up in a 3-4-2-1 formation where Ugarte plays at the base of midfield, usually alongside Hidemasa Morita.
Ugarte is especially useful off the ball. The tenacious midfielder wins an average of 3.9 tackles per game, which is higher than anyone else in the Sporting squad.
He is no stranger to getting a booking either as the 22-year-old has been shown 15 yellow cards across all competitions this season.
The midfielder also keeps things tidy on the ball, with a pass competition rate of 91.3% this season. Looking at Chelsea’s current options in the middle, Ugarte seems like an obvious upgrade.
Manuel Ugarte is it man, get him in a Liverpool shirt the moment that summer window opens
— 𝑾𝒊𝒍𝒄𝒐🧣 (@WilcoFtbl) April 21, 2023
What has been said
Sporting manager Amorim has remained tight-lipped when it comes to the future of one of his prized assets. “I read in the newspaper he was already sold,” he told reporters. “Let’s see what happens in the future.”
Who else is interested?
Alongside Chelsea, several other sides are also weighing up a move for the tenacious midfielder. The likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, Leeds and Aston Villa have also held an interest in Ugarte at some stage.
The Gunners reportedly sent scouts to watch the midfielder after he had impressed against Mikel Arteta’s side in the Europa League. Tottenham have been keeping tabs on him after impressing against them in the Champions League.
Newcastle can also be taken seriously in the race for the midfielder as they now have the lure of Champions League football next season. But Chelsea appear in pole position for Ugarte’s signature.