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Chelsea join Aston Villa and Liverpool in race for 60m midfielder

The Blues are ready to blow them out of the water

Chelsea have joined Aston Villa and Liverpool in the race for Sporting midfielder Manuel Ugarte this summer, with the midfielder said to be eyeing up a Premier League move this summer.

Ugarte, who impressed in the Europa League as they knocked out Arsenal, though he was sent off late on in the second leg, has reportedly got a 60m euro (£52m) release clause written into his deal, and it is expected that this will be triggered at the end of the season.

A tough-tackling midfielder, the 22-year-old has appeared 30 times and despite his penchant for yellow cards (he has collected 11 in the Portuguese top flight this season) he could be a very effective option alongside Enzo Fernandez in the Chelsea engine room.

Midfield is one of the areas that Chelsea are focusing on this summer, with question marks over the futures of all of N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic. Denis Zakaria, meanwhile, will leave the club when his loan spell ends.

That would leave just Enzo Fernandez as a senior option in midfield, and while goalkeeper and striker are thought to be the priority areas this transfer window, the centre of the park won’t be far behind.

And according to Portuguese outlet Record, it means that the Blues have ‘joined the race’ for Ugarte, whose release clause could make a deal easy to complete amid what threatens to be a hectic summer.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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