Chelsea’s bottom-half finish in the Premier League may mean Todd Boehly splashes the cash again this summer in the hope that he can get the Blues back into the Champions League.
There is no doubt that player sales will be necessary if he is going to keep the bloated squad at Stamford Bridge happy, but that hasn’t stopped him from reportedly looking at a number of new options ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
One man who has been linked with a move to Chelsea is Sporting CP midfielder Manuel Ugarte following his impressive performances in Ruben Amorim’s side this campaign.
Could Chelsea sign Ugarte?
According to transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are very much in “the race” to sign the Uruguay international this summer, although PSG are also showing a lot of interest.
Ugarte has a €60m (£53m) release clause in his contract at the José Alvalade Stadium, which could represent something of a bargain considering the excessive sums Boehly has spent on far-less-established players in his Chelsea tenure.
Would Ugarte be a good signing?
This season has seen the 22-year-old make 31 appearances in Portugal’s top flight, in which he has averaged a superb 7.11 rating from WhoScored, despite not contributing any goals or assists.
Ugarte is very much a defensive-minded midfielder, averaging a phenomenal 3.9 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game – both of which are unmatched tallies in the Chelsea squad.
FBref also backs up his ability as an all-rounder compared to midfielders playing at a similar level, ranking him in the top 1% for pass completion and tackles completed per 90, while he also ranks in the top 3% of midfielders for interceptions per game.
Earlier in the campaign, when Ugarte ranked top for tackles and duels won in the Champions League, football talent scout Jacek Kulig dubbed him a “midfield machine“, which certainly suggests that he has the physical attributes required to be a success in the Premier League.
N’Golo Kante‘s future at Chelsea is still up in the air, as the Frenchman’s deal is due to expire in the summer following a season which has been plagued by injuries. With this in mind, Ugarte could be a dream replacement at Stamford Bridge.
Kante has cultivated a reputation as one of the best ball-winners in Europe during his time with Leicester City and Chelsea, but at 32, it seems as if the injuries are catching up with him, as he has mustered just seven Premier League appearances so far this term.
Therefore, Boehly should definitely act fast on Chelsea’s interest in Ugarte, as at 22, he could be a superb long-term heir to Kante for the west London side.