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Spurs: Antonio Conte interested in Manuel Ugarte

Tottenham Hotspur are interested in a deal to bring Manuel Ugarte to the Premier League in the January transfer window.

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That’s according to a report by Portuguese outlet O’Jogo, who claim that Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici are continuing to monitor the Uruguay midfielder at the Qatar World Cup this winter, with the Italian duo believed to have been tracking the 21-year-old ever since his impressive Champions League displays for Sporting Lisbon against Spurs earlier this season.

However, earlier reports revealed that Paris Saint-Germain are also keeping a close eye on the central midfielder, while it is also claimed that Sporting are hoping to tie the six-cap international down to a new one-year contract at Estádio José Alvalade, a deal that would see the youngster’s release clause rise from €60m (£52m) to €80m (£69.5m).

“Midfield machine”

Considering just how impressive Ugarte has been in Portugal so far this season, it is not hard to understand why Conte would be interested in a deal to bring the 21-year-old to north London this winter, as the youngster would undoubtedly make an exceptional addition to Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma in the middle of the park.

Indeed, over his 13 Liga Portugal appearances in the current campaign, the £16.5m-rated talent has been in fantastic form, making an average of 3.0 tackles – the joint sixth-most in the league – 1.4 interceptions and regaining possession 1.1 times per game, as well as winning a whopping 6.1 duels – at a success rate of 55% – per fixture.

The £11.8k-per-week enforcer also impresses in possession of the ball, having created one big chance for his teammates, in addition to playing an average of 1.5 long balls, 0.4 key passes, being successful with 1.1 dribbles and completing 41.4 total passes – at a success rate of 92% – per match.

These returns have seen the player who Football Talent Scout Jacek Kulig dubbed a “midfield machine” and David Cartlidge labelled a “roaming” midfielder average an eye-catching SofaScore match rating of 6.95, currently ranking him as Rúben Amorim’s ninth-best performer in the top flight of Portuguese football.

As mentioned earlier, the 21-year-old also impressed during Sporting’s 2-0 victory over Spurs in the Champions League this season, enjoying 72 touches of the ball, completing 50 passes – at a success rate of 89% – making four interceptions and three tackles, completing one dribble and winning seven of his 10 duels – at a success rate of 70% – against the north London side.

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These metrics not only saw the Uruguay starlet earn a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.2, but his performance also confirmed that Ugarte is more than capable of holding his own against Spurs’ own central midfielders – with the youngster bossing both Höjbjerg and Bentancur at the Estádio José Alvalade back in September.

As such, should the 21-year-old go on to impress for Uruguay against Portugal and Ghana in his country’s remaining two Group H games in Qatar, it would not be surprising to see Conte launch a bid for the £52m sensation this winter – as Ugarte could well help to form a midfield machine in north London.