Newcastle United have been handed a potential transfer boost to their hopes of securing a transfer deal for Sporting CP midfielder Manuel Ugarte.
Last month, it was reported by Portuguese media outlet Record (via The Sun), that Newcastle have made an enquiry about potentially signing the midfielder.
Now though, some details have emerged that could potentially work in the Tyneside club’s favour in terms of landing a deal for him.
According to Record (via Sport Witness), there has been a setback in Sporting’s attempts to secure Ugarte with a new deal at Sporting.
The Portuguese club apparently wanted to increase the player’s release clause from €60m (£53m) to €80m (£71m), and those conditions have blocked the deal for a new contract.
Sporting were actually about to renew Ugarte’s contract with the club, which shows just how unexpected this was.
With 20 league appearances under his belt this season, the Uruguayan has shown how much of a capable midfielder he is, particularly from a defensive point of view.
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In fact, Ugarte, who has been hailed for his “phenomenal” performances this season by journalist Zach Lowy, has the highest combined total of tackles and interceptions (107) in the entire Portuguese league.
His overall performances have earned the midfielder a strong season rating of 7.02/10 from WhoScored, making him the third-highest rated player currently at the club.
Taking all of this into account, it’s easy to see why Newcastle have had their eyes on the player and why they could be encouraged by this reported setback in contract talks with Sporting.
Looking ahead to the next summer transfer window, with the Magpies only having Bruno Guimaraes as their main defensive-midfielder, launching a move to sign the Sporting star should definitely be on their list of priorities, especially if the Portuguese club could be persuaded into cashing in on him.