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Manuel Ugarte “Almost Certain” to Leave Sporting This Summer According to Agent

Recent transfer chatter out of Portugal had Liverpool preparing a formal bid for the midfield destroyer.

Sporting CP v FC Famalicao - Liga Portugal Bwin Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

First it was Jude Bellingham who was meant to be Liverpool’s top midfield target, and while other names were at times mentioned, it was a story that broadly persisted for most of the 2022-23 season. Then, the Bellingham race was lost and it was Ryan Gravenberch and Mason Mount getting most of the column inches.

In recent weeks, though, we’ve heard little about the midfield pair that dominated the Liverpool transfer chatter in April, and instead it’s Alexis Mac Allister and Manuel Ugarte who appear to be the consensus top transfer targets. It might all change again, of course, but with the season nearing its end it’s getting close to the time when the rumours will stop and the actual signings start.

On that front, the latest transfer chatter focuses on the second of May’s supposed top Liverpool targets: Manuel Ugarte. And it might be fair to call it a little more than simple transfer chatter this time around given the player’s agent has spoken openly about his future—and made it clear he won’t be at Sporting next season.

“It’s almost certain that he won’t stay, it’s sure he’ll leave,” Jorge Chijane told O Jogo this week when asked about his client’s future. “Liverpool? There is a lot of talk, but it is not the only club, there are others. There is a lot of talk, but I am still not sure. There are many hypotheses on the table. I believe that in 15 days the situation will be resolved.”

Chijane is part of Jorge Mendes’ agency, which also represents Liverpool stars Diogo Jota, Darwin Nuñez, and Fabinho, with the club having a good history of completing deals for Mendes clients. Earlier in the week, reports out of Portugal had Liverpool preparing their first formal bid for the player, who has a €60M release clause and complicated rights ownership.

The 22-year-old Uruguayan international and midfield anchor is amongst Europe’s very best statistically as a destroyer while providing little on the ball and has spent two successful seasons with Sporting Lisbon. His first Portuguese club, Famalicao, retain 40% of his rights while Uruguayan side Fenix retain 10% of his rights.

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