Chelsea close to beating PSG to Ugarte signing – sources

Chelsea are closing in on the signing of highly rated Sporting CP defensive midfielder Manuel Ugarte, sources have told ESPN.

Both the London side and French champions Paris Saint-Germain have offered to trigger the Uruguay international’s release clause of €60 million. However, unlike the Parisians, Chelsea are adding solidarity payments and various bonuses which makes their proposition more attractive, sources said.

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Sporting are even encouraging and pushing Ugarte to choose Chelsea ahead of PSG, who are still hoping to convince him, sources added. The 22-year-old has not yet agreed to anything but, according to sources, a full agreement with Chelsea is now close.

New Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino is said to be a big fan of Ugarte, who will line up alongside British-record signing Enzo Fernandez in the Chelsea midfield next season if he decides to join the club.

Despite spending more than £600 million to sign 17 players over the past 12 months since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took over the club, it is set to be another bust summer at Chelsea.

Much of that transformation looks set to focus on the team’s midfield with both Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic close to departing.

Mount’s existing deal expires next summer and Chelsea would rather cash in now than lose him for nothing in 2024 if no agreement over an extension can be reached, sources have told ESPN, with Manchester United in pole position for his signature.

Sources have also told ESPN that Manchester City are in talks to sign Croatia international Kovacic.