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Spurs to scout Manuel Ugarte at World Cup

Tottenham Hotspur will be taking an invested interest in Uruguay’s matches at the World Cup in Qatar later this month, and that’s not just because of star midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur’s likely involvement…

What’s the word?

According to Portuguese outlet A Bola (via Sport Witness), the north Londoners will be sending scouts to watch the 25-year-old’s international teammate Manuel Ugarte in their Group H matches against Heung-min Son’s South Korea, Portugal and Ghana.

The Jorge Mendes client is only one of two players born after 2001 to have been named in the La Celeste squad and tops what has been a meteoric rise from the age of 15.

Back in September, Spurs were thought to have made contact over a potential move and now they appear to be ramping up their interest in the 21-year-old sensation by watching him in the game’s biggest tournament.

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The midfielder is believed to have a current release clause of €60m (£52.5m) and that could rise to €80m (£70m) should the Primeira Liga outfit tie him down to a new deal in the coming months.

Imagine Ugarte and Bentancur

The Lilywhites have already had two up-close-and-personal glimpses of Ugarte this season as he plies his trade for Sporting CP, one of their UEFA Champions League Group D opponents.

Antonio Conte was left with nightmares as his side were unable to defeat the Portuguese giants in either encounter and the young Uruguayan particularly excelled at the Estadio Jose Alvalade – as per Sofascore, he was their joint-third highest performer as he led the match for interceptions (four) and also racked up three tackles and won 70% of his duels.

Another powerhouse-like figure, the six-cap international quite extraordinary ranks within the top 1% of his positional peers in FBref‘s ‘next eight’ competitions for pass completion (91.6%), tackles (3.89) and blocks (2.07) per 90.

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It’s perhaps little surprise to see him dubbed “The Uruguayan Midfield Machine” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, who also believes that Sporting will struggle to keep hold of him much past the summer transfer window.

Also lauded as ‘tireless‘ by Portuguese newspaper O Jogo, it’s clear to see that Ugarte would be an ideal fit for Conte’s system and would see him as being in the perfect profile for the midfield position.

Given their likely partnership in Qatar, both he and Bentancur could become Spurs’ exciting engine room for the next few years should sporting director Fabio Paratici follow through with the club’s noted interest.

AND in other news, “Tireless” 60-pass Spurs maestro is heading to Qatar in red hot form

Article title: Spurs to scout Manuel Ugarte at World Cup

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