Tottenham Hotspur have assured a Portuguese club they will make a bid for a highly rated midfielder this summer, Paris Saint-Germain are planning to try again for a Chelsea star, while Saturday’s Transfer Gossip provides an update on a Manchester United and Manchester City winger target.
SPURS IN TRANSFER ‘PROMISE’
Tottenham have made Sporting Lisbon star Manuel Ugarte one of their main objectives for the summer window and have even ‘promised’ the Primeira Liga side they will make an official proposal, according to a report.
Ugarte has established himself as one of the top midfielders in Portugal since moving to Sporting in August 2021. This season, he has played in 39 games across all competitions, helping Sporting to reach the final of the Portuguese league cup and the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
After losing to FC Porto in the Portuguese league cup’s showpiece event, Ugarte and Sporting will be hoping to succeed in the Europa League last eight. They will come up against Juventus, having beaten Arsenal on penalties in the previous round.
Ugarte generally operates just in front of the back four, helping to provide them with plenty of protection. As per WhoScored, he has registered an average of 3.9 tackles per game in the Portuguese top flight, which is more than any other player.
In March, Leeds were linked with an ambitious club-record swoop for the Uruguay international. But it seems the Whites will lose out to a Premier League rival.
According to Sport Witness, who cite Portuguese newspaper Record, Tottenham have identified Ugarte as one of their top targets to improve the first team.
And Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has even ‘promised’ Sporting that he will make an official offer for the star in the summer.
The report does not reveal exactly how much money Levy is willing to put forward. But it will probably have to be in the region of €60million (£53m) to agree a deal, as that is what Ugarte’s release clause is worth.
Sporting know who they want to replace Spurs target
Ugarte is important to the way Sporting play but they simply have to consider his sale. This is because they have to raise funds in order to improve other positions and get back to the top of the Primeira Liga table next season. They currently sit in fourth spot, 17 points behind leaders Benfica.
In a major boost for Spurs, Sporting have already identified Ugarte’s replacement for when he potentially moves to north London. They believe Brazilian Jean Lucas, who is currently playing for Monaco, would be a good successor in midfield.
The only thing stopping Spurs from signing Ugarte at this point is Newcastle. That is because Eddie Howe’s team are interested in the 21-year-old as well.
Newcastle’s interest is not quite as advanced as Spurs’ just yet, which means the north London side are in pole position for Ugarte. But that could change if Newcastle use some of their huge finances by submitting a mega offer.
Ugarte is certainly a player to watch out for in the summer transfer window. Spurs hope to bolster their midfield for the next manager by landing him, although Newcastle could scupper that plan.
PSG GO AFTER CHELSEA ATTACKER
PSG remain interested in Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech and will once again try to land him at the end of the season, according to a report.
Ziyech was hoping to make a deadline-day switch to the French capital in January. He was fed up of being rotated by then Blues manager Graham Potter and had decided on PSG as his dream next club.
However, the transfer did not go through in time, with both PSG and Ziyech blaming Chelsea. There were reports that Chelsea had sent the wrong paperwork on three occasions before the transfer deadline.
The Moroccan had already travelled to Paris to try and help the move go through and was furious about having to return to Chelsea.
Ziyech could finally get his transfer wish this summer, though. Football Insider state that PSG are preparing to go back in for his services.
PSG have remained in contact with Ziyech’s agent ever since the January fiasco and have told the representative they will send Chelsea an offer later this year. It is claimed PSG have held ‘extensive’ discussions over Ziyech’s capture.
Chelsea have set the wide man’s valuation at between £20-30m and PSG are preparing to submit a proposal in that region.
There are two reasons why this transfer is highly likely to go through. The first is that PSG are having to rely on cheap deals this summer so they do not break Financial Fair Play regulations.
Ziyech falls into the category of being a signing that would improve the squad without breaking the bank.
Secondly, Chelsea desperately need to offload the 30-year-old. After spending over £600m in the last two transfer windows, Chelsea are also at risk of FFP sanctions. They need to offload players such as Ziyech, Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – just to name a few – in order to balance the books.
AC MILAN ISSUE UPDATE ON MAN UTD, MAN CITY TARGET
Italian giants AC Milan are eager to tie Rafael Leao down to a new contract amid interest from Man Utd and Man City.
Leao, who generally plays as a left winger but can also operate at centre-forward, has been in brilliant form this campaign. He has notched 11 goals and 10 assists in 37 appearances. That includes two goals in Milan’s recent 4-0 rout at Napoli.
Man Utd and Man City are both excited by Leao’s ability and are attempting to persuade him to move to England. The 23-year-old’s deal with Milan expires in June 2024, which means he could theoretically run down his contract before joining a Prem club in a cut-price deal.
However, the Rossoneri are taking the appropriate steps to ensure that does not happen. During a recent interview with Sky Sport Italia, Milan director of football Frederic Massara provided the following update on Leao: “We want to extend Rafa Leao’s contract, he wants the same. There are issues but we’re on it. We need a solution before the end of the season.
“Rafa will have the final say. It’s not easy to mention percentages but I’d say it’s 50 per cent.”
Leao leaving the San Siro would be a huge blow for Milan. Without his goal contributions they would not be sat third in Serie A or have reached the Champions League quarter-finals.
Luckily for Milan, it seems Leao is happy to stay with them for a few more years. But he could be tempted by a Prem switch when he is at the peak of his powers later on in his career.