In a press conference ahead of Sporting CP’s clash with Vizela this Saturday, manager Rúben Amorim gave his thoughts on a potential transfer for star midfielder, Manuel Ugarte (22), and whether or not they’ve received the rumored €60 million bid from PSG:
“I can’t confirm anything with Ugarte, it’s beyond me. It’s difficult to keep players like him because there are many clubs interested. It’s not my job. I know what I want to do with the team and I’ve already conveyed that to the management. We’re prepared for any scenario,” the 38-year-old manager said.
Only a day after the Portuguese media reported an Ugarte deal with Tottenham or Aston Villa was all but finalized, news of PSG’s pin-point bid have come as a shock in Portugal, with The Parisians name having not been mentioned much across recent transfer rumours. However, it’s not hard to understand the appreciation many big clubs have for the workhorse midfielder.
With defensive midfielders being an incredibly instrumental part of a traditional Amorim system, Sporting’s loss of Portuguese midfielder João Palhinha (27) to Fulham in the summer of 2022 sprung many fears that the superstar couldn’t be replaced. However, Ugarte has proved a more than capable replacement beating many of Palhinha’s defensive stats from the 2020/21 title-winning season.
Furthermore, according to stats posted by Record, Ugarte has the most tackles (122), the most tackles won (70), and the most duels won (234) in the Primeira Liga this season. He is also second best in ball recoveries (245) just two behind Porto’s Mateus Uribe (247).
With the rapid-fire rumors coming out about Ugarte’s departure from Sporting, a transfer looks more than certain this summer, with the only remaining question in Portuguese media being where?