Chelsea going ahead with €60m signing of a world-class defender

Journalist Ekrem Konur reported over the weekend that Chelsea are moving forward to sign Sporting Lisbon’s 22-year-old defender Manuel Ugarte but Tottenham, Newcastle and Liverpool are interested in the Uruguayan player.

The 22-year-old is expected to leave current club Sporting at the end of the season.

Ugarte is under contract with Sporting until 2026 and has a release clause of €60m.

Ugarte joined Sporting in August of 2021 for €10.5m. He has since featured 85 times for his current club, providing one goal and three assists.

The Uruguayan international is a defensive midfielder by trade and would likely be a long-term replacement for N’Golo Kante if Chelsea can get a deal over the line.

Outside of Kante, Chelsea currently have very few proper defensive midfield options. Enzo Fernandez has a regular starting berth in the pivot but his game is more about moving the ball around quickly and creating chances.

This may be a plus for the Blues when trying to land Ugarte, though, as whilst Liverpool currently look a more attractive club to join, Ugarte may not get as many minutes as he would like with Fabinho still a regular feature.

                             
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