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Club after summer transfer window odds: PSG close in on Manuel Ugarte

One of the most in-demand midfielders in Europe, we’ve priced up Manuel Ugarte’s next club, with French giants PSG favourites.

Looking like the next off the Sporting CP conveyor belt, the Uruguayan is being chased by a number of Europe’s top clubs, with PSG seemingly leading the way at 8/13.

And having only just turned 22, has a very bright future ahead of him.

While there’s room for improvement regarding his ability on the ball, there are few more impressive ball-winners in world football at the moment, and Christophe Galtier would hope to develop his ball-playing if he can bring him to the French capital.

His defensive output rivals any of his colleagues across the top five European leagues, and that’s while playing for a team who regularly average more than 60% possession.

His tackles attempted per 90 (4.63) would see him top the Premier League*, ahead of Joao Palhinha (4.3), Casemiro (3.84) and Tyler Adams (3.71).

His tackles won per 90 (2.64) would also see him top the Premier League*, ahead of Palhinha (2.39), Pascal Struijk (2.35) and Neco Williams (2.25), while his interceptions per 90 (2.18) tell a similar story, where he ranks ahead of statistical leaders Armel Bella Kotchap (2.11), Wilfried Ndidi (2.03) and Idrissa Gueye (1.92), all of whom have played for teams seeing much less of the ball than Ugarte’s Sporting.

He also leads, albeit narrowly, in ball recoveries ahead of Declan Rice, Rodi and Gueye.

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Aston Villa were amongst the first clubs to show an interest in the Uruguayan and can be backed at 20/1, but it looks like they’ll be blown out of the water by one of the game’s bigger hitters, even if Villa are willing to pay Ugarte’s release clause.

PSG lead the betting and have searched for the heir to Thiago Motta’s throne since he left in 2018, with the likes of Leandro Paredes, Ander Herrera, Gueye, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabian Ruiz and Vitinha all arriving since, but Ugarte could occupy a space in the French champions’ midfield for the next decade.

While PSG will be expected to win Ligue 1 every year, the Champions League eludes them, only reaching on final, but more mettle in midfield could be the difference in the knockout games. 

Chelsea are the main competitors for his signature, though there are a number of hurdles to get over. Firstly, the Blues are still without a manager, even if Mauricio Pochettino looks set to be in the dugout next season. 

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, is there is no Champions League football on offer in West London, and considering the competitiveness of the Premier League, there’s no guarantee it will be there the season after next, or even for the foreseeable future, despite Todd Boehly’s spending spree.

Sporting are 8/1 to retain Ugarte, but with a relatively modest release clause and so much interest in his signature, it’s hard to see him staying.

Liverpool are next in the betting at 14/1, and were reported to be interested in Ugarte, especially following their struggles in the middle of the park over the course of the season. 

While Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones continue to develop, showing plenty of promise, the old guard of James Milner, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are proving less influential, while Naby Keita will leave on a free in the summer, and a holding midfielder like Ugarte would be a terrific addition to the side.

But with Alexis Mac Allister set to join, eating into the transfer budget, it may be that the Reds are unable to offer a similar package as Chelsea and PSG.

*Minimum 18 90s played.

Odds correct at time of publishing.

Club on 03/09/2023 odds: 

View our Summer Transfer Live Blog here.

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