Chelsea transfers: First Pochettino signing ‘verbally agreed’ as Man Utd delay allows Boehly to snatch £52m deal

Mauricio Pochettino celebrates

Mauricio Pochettino celebrates goal

Chelsea are reportedly on the verge of clinching the first signing of the Mauricio Pochettino era with a deal now in place to bring the star to Stamford Bridge.

The Argentine is the man chosen by Todd Boehly to try and re-establish the Blues back among the elite. And he will hope it’s a case of third-time lucky with neither of the two appointments of his reign going to plan so far.

Indeed, you can see just how badly Frank Lampard and Graham Potter rank among all 40 Premier League bosses this season.

Nonetheless, Pochettino will hope to lead an immediate improvement at SW6 and overseen an improvement in results. As a result, Pochettino has been spending the last few weeks assessing the Chelsea squad and analysing areas of improvement.

Inheriting a bloated squad though, several players are likely to leave before Pochettino can bring players in.

Thankfully, a number of players are edging towards the Stamford Bridge exit door. To that end, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount are all edging towards moves elsewhere. And they will likely be joined by others with doubts also surrounding Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech to name just a few.

Per reports, though, the newly-appointed Blues boss is focusing his initial transfer search on his midfield. Enzo Fernandez was signed to good affect in January and while N’Golo Kante will likely sign a new deal, another addition is being sought.

And reports last week claimed the player who tops his wanted list is Sporting Lisbon star Manuel Ugarte.

The Uruguayan star has enjoyed an excellent season in Portugal and in Europe under Ruben Amorim.

READ MORE: Seven former Pochettino players Chelsea could look to sign this summer

Chelsea transfers: Manuel Ugarte agrees terms

Indeed, with a €60m (£52m) clause in his contract, the clamour to sign Ugarte has been steadily growing all season. And while Sporting are keen to tie him to a new deal, it’s increasingly likely a move away from Portugal is on the cards this summer.

To that end, Ugarte was linked with a move to Chelsea last week amid claims Pochettino had idenified him as a firm target. Indeed, it was claimed Boehly was even willing to pay a premium fee on top of his clause to secure a move to the Bridge.

Chelsea, though, are far from alone in pursuit of Ugarte. PSG are also strongly keen, while Thursday’s Euro Paper Talk suggests Manchester United were considering an approach to hijack the transfer.

However, while PSG have reportedly also offered to match his exit clause, the 22-year-old defensive midfielder has reportedly made clear to his agents that he prefers a move to the Premier League.

And with United seemingly weighing up whether to make an approach, Pochettino has reportedly moved in to secure his signing.

Per Football Insider, Pochettino has held a call with Ugarte to convince him to sign for the Blues.

And they claim Ugarte has ‘verbally agreed’ to move to south-west London, finalising terms on a long-term contract.

Talks are now reportedly underway between Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon over the structure of the deal. Sporting, understandably, want to receive as much of the fee as possible up front. Chelsea, meanwhile, are keen to structure the payments over a number of years.

However, an agreement is seemingly close with PSG informed of the decision. As a result, the French giants are now beginning groundwork on a number of other deals instead.

Pochettino turns attention to second Chelsea signing

The signing of the defensive midfielder will likely be confirmed in the next fortnight. And the eight-times capped star will reportedly pen at least a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

With the signing of Ugarte now considered as good as done, Chelsea are turning their attentions to another midfield signing. And Pochettino is looking to raid his former club Southampton for Romeo Lavia.

The midfielder enjoyed an excellent season on a personal level, featuring in 34 games across all competitions. And even though Saints’ bid to stay in the Premier League ultimately failed, no blame could be attached to him.

And it seems the Belgium international will soon be on the move back to the Premier League. Indeed, several big-hitters are vying for his signature.

Indeed, Liverpool, Manchester United and former club Manchester City are among those being linked.

However, it is Chelsea who appear ready to make the first move with a £35m bid in the offing. Saints will not stand in the 19-year-old’s way and stand to make a handsome profit on last summer’s £12m investment.

His former side City do have a clause allowing them to buy Lavia back for £40m. However, it is unlikely they will take up that option with a £35m switch to Chelsea likely instead.

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