Tottenham are planning to keep a close eye on the performances of Sporting and Uruguay midfielder Manuel Ugarte at the World Cup over the next few weeks, according to reports. The north Londoners are said to be drawing up their plan of action for the upcoming January transfer window, during which they will be looking to strengthen their ranks in advance of the Premier League run-in.
Tottenham were said to be interested in a move for Ugarte in the summer and even reached out to Sporting to discuss his availability earlier this year, although he ultimately ended up staying with his current employers. It seems as if the 21-year-old could be targeted by Spurs once again when the January window opens, though, with an impressive World Cup campaign able to give them plenty of food for thought.
Those in power at Tottenham have continued to scout Ugarte over the course of this season and will be running the rule over his performances for Uruguay in Qatar, according to Portuguese outlet A Bola. He is one of just two players born in 2001 set to represent La Celeste at the World Cup, with Manchester United youngster Facundo Pellistri the other, and will be desperate to stamp his authority on the international stage between now and the end of the tournament.
Ugarte’s strong showings with Sporting this season have propelled him into contention for a starting spot for Uruguay, although it remains to be seen how much of a role he will be given by manager Diego Alonso when the action gets underway. He is also highly regarded at club level and is expected to be in demand when the transfer market returns, but Sporting are under no immediate pressure to sell after tying him down to a long-term contract last year.
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The midfielder was reportedly chased by Tottenham over the summer and would be reuniting with Uruguay team-mate Rodrigo Bentancur if he finally ends up making the switch from Sporting before the end of January. Spurs are unlikely to be the only side in the race for his signature, though, with PSG having also been credited with a desire to snap him up in the not-too-distant future.
It is claimed that Sporting are hoping to extend Ugarte’s contract yet again with a new deal that would see his release clause set at around £70million, which could potentially price Tottenham out of a move at the turn of the year. Antonio Conte has already highlighted the club’s lack of spending power in comparison to some of their wealthier Premier League rivals, with the Italian coach telling reporters last month: “Honestly, I don’t know this [what the club will do in January].
“For sure, the life will always be more difficult in the future. For sure, Tottenham has to have the challenge with a team like Newcastle, also Arsenal. Arsenal in the last three or four years, every season they invest money and now we are talking about a really, really good team with a really good coach, but in England it will be really, really difficult in the future and I think in every situation the most important thing is to be honest.
“To be honest with the fans, to be honest with the ambition, not to tell lies or to promise, and this is the right way for every club, because to tell good lies is not good.”
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