Chelsea to ‘confirm transfer next week’ after reaching six-year agreement

Chelsea caretaker manager Frank Lampard previews the Newcastle game

Chelsea could be about to complete their first major signing of the new season when the transfer window opens next month. The Blues are reportedly close to securing the signature of Sporting Lisbon defensive midfielder Manuel Ugarte on a six-year deal.

It was thought that the Uruguayan would be on his way to Paris Saint Germain in the summer but a late swoop from Chelsea appears to have turned the tables in their favour. Ugarte has a £52million release clause in his contract which both sides are willing to match.

Uruguayan transfer insider Franco Fernandez claims that Chelsea are the frontrunners to acquire his services and that a deal could be thrashed out as early as next week. He tweeted: “Manuel Ugarte was on the bench [against Vizela], he did not see minutes waiting for his future for the transfer period. His arrival at Chelsea could be confirmed next week.”

Liverpool also reportedly remain keen on the player and are “ready” to meet Ugarte’s clause as well. This comes after the Portuguese side threatened the Reds with UEFA sanctions for allegedly approaching the 22-year-old in the middle of the season when they had ‘forbidden’ him from speaking to other clubs.

It is an offence under UEFA and FIFA rules for teams to speak to players without the parent club’s permission and Portuguese publication Correio da Manhã claims Sporting have threatened legal action if Liverpool are proven guilty. 

Ugarte’s agent Jorge Chijane is adamant that his client will be leaving the José Alvalade Stadium in the summer. But wasn’t sure on the most likely destination when speaking about Ugarte’s future earlier this month.

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“Liverpool? There is a lot of talk, 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. 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.’”

However, widespread reports this month claim the player’s preference would be to play in the Premier League over joining PSG with Chelsea now understood to be the frontrunner.

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