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Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has reportedly promised to submit a concrete proposal for Sporting midfielder Manuel Ugarte, who has also been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Aston Villa over the last few weeks. The Blues were the Premier League’s biggest spenders last summer and again in January and have been widely tipped to splash the cash over the coming months in order to help incoming boss Mauricio Pochettino to shape the squad as he sees fit.
Improvements are likely to be targeted in a variety of positions over the course of the summer transfer window, including in the middle of the park as Chelsea look to put the disappointments of this season firmly behind them at the next time of asking. They are said to be keen admirers of Ugarte and have emerged as a ‘new option’ for the Uruguay playmaker in the event he leaves Sporting in the not-too-distant future, according to Record.
It is said that meetings have been scheduled for next week in order to resolve Ugarte’s future, with Boehly having promised Sporting that ‘concrete proposals’ will be submitted for the player between now and the start of the new campaign. It seems clear that Ugarte is almost certain to leave Sporting over the coming weeks, with his agent Jorge Chijane having already confirmed that several high-profile clubs have already expressed an interest in securing his services.
“There is a lot of talk [about Liverpool] but it is not the only club, there are others,” said Chijane. “There is much talk, but I am still not sure about the club. There are many possibilities on the table. It’s almost certain that he won’t stay, it’s sure he’ll leave. I believe that in 15 days the situation will be resolved.”
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It remains to be seen how much Sporting will be prepared to accept in exchange for Ugarte, who is thought to have a release clause of around £52million as things stand. Liverpool are said to have already informed the player that a formal offer will soon be made by them, while Aston Villa have reportedly been ‘taking notes’ after watching Ugarte at club level over the last few weeks.
Chelsea will seemingly be among the bidders when the transfer window finally opens next month, although only time will tell if they will manage to pip Liverpool and Aston Villa to Ugarte’s signature before the start of the new season. Former Sporting winger Jorge Amaral recently insisted that there is almost no way Ugarte will end up staying put over the next few weeks, with an exit firmly expected to occur when the current campaign draws to a close.
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“Looking at what Ugarte has been up to, it’s likely that his departure is inevitable,” Amaral told O Jogo. “Just look at the millions from England. Sporting will have to sell, not just to buy, to settle accounts, and that player [Monaco defender and reported Sporting target Jean Lucas] will be able to bridge the exit [of Ugarte].”
Meanwhile, Sporting boss Ruben Amorim previously refused to offer any assurances over Ugarte’s long-term future when quizzed on the topic by reporters. He said earlier this month: “I read in the newspaper he was already sold. Let’s see what happens in the future.”
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