Tottenham could seal Manuel Ugarte transfer in days as agent leaves door ajar

Klopp previews Liverpool's Premier League clash with Tottenham

Tottenham could be a matter of days away from agreeing their first signing of the summer, with Manuel Ugarte’s agent leaving the door ajar amid rival interest from Liverpool. The Sporting Lisbon midfielder is virtually certain to move on at the end of what has been an impressive individual season.

Ugarte came through the ranks in his native Uruguay, becoming the county’s youngest-ever domestic player when he made his debut for Fenix at 15 years old. He joined Sporting in 2021, and as his second campaign draws to a close, it appears as though interested parties have seen enough.

Liverpool, Newcastle United and Spurs are all rumoured to be in the mix for the 22-year-old, who has a £52million release clause in his Sporting contract. It remains to be seen whether the Portuguese giants would be willing to accept a lower fee.

While reports indicate that the Reds have forged ahead in the transfer race, Ugarte’s agent, Jorge Chijane, claims that nothing is decided yet.

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C‌rucially, however, he added that the matter should be resolved in just over two weeks’ time. “Liverpool? There is a lot of talk, but they are not the only club, there are others,” explained Chijane, as quoted by The Mirror.

“There is a lot of talk, but I am still not sure about the club [he will sign with]. There are many possibilities on the table. I believe that in 15 days the situation will be resolved. It’s almost certain that he won’t stay [at Sporting], it’s sure he’ll leave. Soon I’ll be [with him] in Lisbon.”

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Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur have been Spurs’ midfield duo for much of this season with Oliver Skipp, Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr providing back-up. Ugarte’s prospective arrival would therefore suggest that at least one of those five will be auctioned off this summer.

Liverpool’s need for a new midfield general is perhaps more pressing. Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner are all out of contract in a few weeks’ time, while Arthur Melo will return to Juventus after a disastrous loan spell.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will hope that links to up-and-coming players such as Ugarte will help lure a top manager to north London. Ryan Mason has been placed in temporary charge until the end of the season, by which time Antonio Conte’s permanent successor is expected to be sought out.

With names such as Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique in the mix, Spurs may be required to splash out during the transfer window in order to match their ambitions.

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