Chelsea have reportedly agreed personal terms with Manuel Ugarte after Mauricio Pochettino ‘approved’ the move for the Sporting Lisbon midfielder.
Ugarte – who move to Sporting from Famalicao for £10m in the summer of 2021 – has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League, with Liverpool at one point tipped as favourites to land the Uruguay international.
Asked about a move to the Reds in particular earlier this month, his agent insisted there were “many possibilities” for his client.
Jorge Chijane said: “Liverpool? There is a lot of talk, but it is not the only club, there are others. There is much talk, but I am still not sure about the club. There are many possibilities on the table.”
He was was right about that, with Tottenham, Chelsea and Villa all said to be keen.
Liverpool were thought to be ‘closest to an assault’ for the Uruguayan, while Spurs and Villa were said to be ‘shoulder to shoulder’ in the race.
Chijane added:”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.
“Soon I’ll be in Lisbon. I trust Jorge Mendes, who is the best agent in the world. In fact, when I told him about Ugarte for the first time, he said to me: ‘Your eyes are my eyes’.”
Paris Saint-Germain were willing to meet Ugarte’s £52m release clause, but journalist Rob Pratley now claims Chelsea have ‘reached an agreement with Ugarte and his agent over personal terms’.
Fabrizio Romano confirmed earlier on Monday that Pochettino – who will become Chelsea’s new boss in a ‘matter of hours’ – ‘approved’ Ugarte as a target.
Pratley added: ‘The remaining point is deal structure as CFC reluctant to trigger termination clause in one payment and would prefer a staggered deal.’
Ugarte looks set to become the first signing of the Pochettino era at Stamford Bridge, with a striker and a goalkeeper expected to follow him through the door this summer.