Leeds United‘s major concern over the approaching weeks will undoubtedly be to keep away from a return to the second tier, with new boss Javi Gracia hoping to steer his relegation-threatened aspect away from hazard with the membership at the moment simply two factors above the drop zone.
For sporting director Victor Orta, nevertheless, there may even must be a consideration as to the potential signings that the Whites may make offered they can safe Premier League security, with the Spaniard little doubt aiming to keep away from a repeat situation occurring subsequent time period.
Based on experiences in Portugal – through Sports activities Witness – one man who’s seemingly of curiosity to these at Elland Highway is Sporting CP midfielder, Manuel Ugarte, with the Yorkshire aspect having reportedly despatched scouts to observe the Uruguayan in motion within the current Europa League assembly towards Arsenal on the Emirates.
The idea is that Orta and co are eager on signing the 21-year-old this summer season, albeit with any deal probably set to price as a lot as €60m (£53m), because of the presence of a launch clause in his present contract.
That determine does seem slightly steep at first look, though the midfield maestro – who has been plying his commerce in Lisbon since 2021 – has seemingly warranted such an asking worth because of his stellar type for Ruben Amorim’s aspect of late.
Would Ugarte be a very good match at Leeds?
If Leeds are to plump for Ugarte any time quickly, the hope could be that the Montevideo native may replicate the influence that his former Sporting teammate Joao Palhinha has had within the Premier League up to now, with the 27-year-old having flourished since becoming a member of Fulham on a £17m deal final summer season.
The Portugal worldwide has arguably been “one of many signings of the season” – in response to Sky Sports activities reporter Jamie Weir – because of his stellar shows at Craven Cottage, with the towering asset at the moment rating first within the division for tackles made this season (101).
As “robust as an ox“, in response to Weir, Palhinha has actually made a powerful impression throughout his comparatively transient spell in English soccer, with current experiences even suggesting that the imposing titan has attracted curiosity from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool, with a £40m price having been mooted.
To have the ability to flip to the person who was Sporting’s “in-house Palhinha substitute” – in response to journalist Raj Chohan – within the type of Ugarte would absolutely symbolize an actual coup so far as Leeds are involved, with the teen having changed the present Cottagers’ star because the harmful, ball-winning presence in Amorim’s aspect.
Hailed as a “warrior” by expertise scout Jacek Kulig, the previous Familicao gem has notably recorded 3.9 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per sport in 22 Primeira Liga outings this season, whereas Palhinha has averaged a slightly related report of 4.2 and 1.4 for a similar two metrics, respectively, from his 24 league appearances this time period.
Ugarte’s outstanding, midfield dominance can also be showcased by the truth that he averaged 4.8 tackles per sport throughout his aspect’s Champions League group stage run – probably the most of any participant within the competitors – having additionally shone towards the Gunners within the current assembly in north London.
Regardless of being dismissed late on after choosing up a second yellow card, the tenacious asset remarkably received 13 floor duels towards Mikel Arteta’s males, whereas additionally showcasing an extra string to his bow after finishing all 4 of his tried dribbles.
A determine who’s clearly already capable of carry out towards English opposition – very similar to Palhinha – Ugarte would absolutely be a very spectacular signing for Orta and co, providing additional metal to an already eye-catching midfield division that features the likes of Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie.