Chelsea hold talks over PSG target Manuel Ugarte

Chelsea have opened talks over a deal to sign Sporting CP midfielder Manuel Ugarte, 90min understands.

A new midfielder has long been on Chelsea’s agenda for this summer even before the arrival of new manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose move to Stamford Bridge was finally made official on Monday.

Chelsea scouts have drawn up a long list of potential targets and 90min understands that 22-year-old Sporting midfielder Ugarte has emerged as a player of interest, with the Blues reaching out to discuss a possible deal.

Paris Saint-Germain are also chasing Ugarte and recently struck an agreement over personal terms with the Uruguay international. The French side is looking to avoid paying his €60m release clause up front and is attempting to negotiate a payment plan.

It is understood that the Parisians’ pursuit of Ugarte is slightly more advanced at this stage, but Chelsea remains in talks over a deal which, if completed, would be the first of the Pochettino era.

Sporting manager Ruben Amorim recently confessed his club face an uphill battle to keep hold of Ugarte after their failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

“Obviously it’s difficult to keep players like him, there are several clubs interested, not just one, knowing that our project is not sold and that we missed the Champions League,” Amorim said. “It makes everything more difficult.”

Chelsea’s midfield transfer plans will depend on how many players are sold this summer. Talks are ongoing with N’Golo Kante, who is evaluating his options, while Mateo Kovacic will enter the final 12 months of his contract and could be sold amid interest from a number of Premier League rivals.

Alongside Ugarte on Chelsea’s radar are West Ham United’s Declan Rice and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo but, with England’s elite all keen on the expensive duo, the Blues are keen to take closer looks at a number of targets.

Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Manu Kone are both admired at Stamford Bridge but much will depend on just how much space Chelsea can free up through sales.

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