Liverpool caught cold as Chelsea threat and confirmed offer puts £52m transfer on the brink

Uruguay midfielder Manuel Ugarte and Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma

Liverpool must act fast if they’re to salvage a midfield transfer after Fabrizio Romano detailed Chelsea’s concrete interest and brought news of a sizeable offer being tabled.

Midfield additions will be front and centre at Anfield this summer. Given Arthur Melo, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all leaving, a midfield overhaul is now a necessity, not a luxury.

Alexis Mac Allister looks set to be the first high profile name through the door. The latest on Liverpool’s £69.4m pursuit can be found here.

However, the Reds have fallen behind Man Utd in the race to sign Mason Mount and a more defensive-minded midfielder is slipping through their fingers too.

Sporting Lisbon’s Manuel Ugarte is the player in question, with the 22-year-old Uruguay international a veritable rock in the engine room.

Indeed, Ugarte averages an incredible 4.2 tackles per game for Sporting across all competitions this season. He’s also safe as houses in possession, racking up an impressive 90.5% pass accuracy.

Ugarte’s current contract with Sporting contains a release clause worth €60m (approx. £52m). Portuguese outlet Record claimed earlier in May that Liverpool were prepared to make their move for a player who could be viewed as the long-term replacement for Fabinho.

However, a Reds offer is yet to materialise and according to Fabrizio Romano, a move to Anfield is now a longshot.

Chelsea pose threat; PSG lodge bid

That’s because not only are Chelsea confirmed suitors for the player, but French giant PSG have actually lodged a bid.

Indeed, Romano tweeted PSG have ‘sent their first bid’ to Sporting and the offer is understood to total the €60m Ugarte’s release clause is set at.

However, the clause has not been activated, with PSG instead proposing ‘different payment terms’. In other words, they hope to structure a deal using add-ons or instalments rather than be on the hook for €60m in one go.

Whether Sporting are receptive to PSG’s bid remains to be seen. Even if they’re not, Liverpool could be beaten to the punch by Chelsea.

Romano noted Chelsea are ‘absolutely in the race’ before naming Ugarte alongside Brighton’s Moises Caicedo as being on their shortlist of new number sixes.

Chelsea’s midfield could be decimated this summer with Mason Mount looking set to leave. Mateo Kovacic is wanted by Man City in the event they lose Ilkay Gundogan to free agency.

N’Golo Kante too could depart, with the veteran Frenchman out of contract this summer. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is currently in talks over joining AC Milan.

In the event any or all of those players take flight, a move for Ugarte – providing he’s not already at PSG – will take centre stage.

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