Tottenham, Aston Villa arm-wrestle over £69m sensation as Fabrizio Romano names new threat for midfield target

Paulinho, Manuel Ugarte and Pedro Goncalves

Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa have both been listed as admirers of two players from the same Portuguese club – but are being threatened by a new suitor for one of them.

First of all, the two Premier League sides are said to be showing interest in Manuel Ugarte, who plays as a midfielder for Sporting CP. According to A Bola, there is something of a tug-of-war going on between the two clubs.

Each of them would like to add Ugarte to their squad this summer, with Aston Villa classed as his ‘most likely destination’ recently. The defensive midfielder has impressed for Sporting this season, including against Tottenham in the Champions League.

However, an update from Fabrizio Romano, following on from similar claims by Record, has revealed that Paris Saint-Germain have made Ugarte a ‘concrete target’.

The Ligue 1 giants have ‘discussed’ the ‘terms of the deal’ and have reached out specifically to Ugarte’s entourage.

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Romano has acknowledged, though, that there are Premier League clubs still in the hunt for the 22-year-old.

That said, Tottenham and Aston Villa appear to be widening their focus in case they miss out on the Uruguay international. However, they haven’t had to divert their gaze too far.

Aston Villa, Tottenham lock horns again for Pote

According to Record, both of them are also interested in Pedro Goncalves, who plays in a more advanced midfield role than Ugarte for Sporting – often on the left wing. Therefore, the arm-wrestle between the two clubs is continuing into a second round.

Goncalves has hit double figures of goals for three consecutive seasons now, including 20 this term. He also has more assists than anyone else in the 2022-23 Primeira Liga; only the league’s leading scorer, Mehdi Taremi of Porto, outranks him for overall goal contributions.

Aston Villa became linked with Goncalves in March, before Tottenham’s interest emerged the following month.

Now, Record has verified that they are both competing to bring the former Wolves misfit back to English football.

However, Sporting will remind his suitors of the €80m (£69.4m) release clause in his contract during negotiations. They will have to give half of his transfer fee to his former club, Famalicao; therefore, they understandably want to maximise their earnings.

The 24-year-old, also known as Pote, is under contract in Lisbon until 2026. He was capped twice for the Portugal national team back in 2021 but is yet to add any further international appearances.

His profile is continually rising, though, and Goncalves might be ready to make more of a name for himself at club level.

Going into the final weekend of the season, Aston Villa are one point ahead of Tottenham in the Premier League table. Should they stay in seventh, Unai Emery’s side will qualify for the Europa Conference League.

Tottenham are the only remaining rival who can stop that. In turn, having European football on offer might be beneficial for the upcoming transfer window.

That said, players of higher pedigree will want to be in the Champions League. In Ugarte’s case, PSG would be able to provide that; as for Goncalves, it remains to be seen if anyone could offer him a similar opportunity.