CHELSEA are reportedly the frontrunners in signing Sporting Lisbon star Manuel Ugarte.
Despite spending over £500m on players this season, the Blues will continue to strengthen their bloated squad this summer.
22-year-old Ugarte is in high demand for Sporting following his brilliant performances.
And according to a Uruguayan reporter Franco Fernándezthe defensive midfielder could join Chelsea as early as next week.
Ugarte’s current deal is understood to include a £52million release clause which the Blues are expected to trigger.
It is said he wants to play in the Premier League and is reportedly close to signing a six-year deal with Chelsea.
Ugarte has also attracted interest from west London Premier League rivals Liverpool.
While Paris Saint-Germain would love to bring him to the French capital.
Chelsea pushed into the Portuguese top flight in January to sign Benfica star Enzo Fernandez.
The Blues spent the British record £107million to secure the Argentine’s services.
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Ugarte started his career at Uruguayan club Fenix before moving to Portuguese side Famalicao.
After just six months at Famalicao, he signed with Sporting in the summer of 2021.
So far he has made 85 appearances for the Portuguese giants and has also won eight caps for Uruguay.
Ugarte has played against Arsenal and Tottenham in European competition this season, despite sitting on the bench for transfer speculation in Sporting’s league game against Vizela on Friday.