Though briefly seeming set for a move to Liverpool, Uruguayan midfielder Manuel Ugarte is now leaving Sporting CP for another club in Europe.
At the end of April, widespread reports in Portugal claimed that Liverpool were in talks over a deal for Ugarte, with scouts tracking his progress in Lisbon.
With a €60 million release clause in his contract, Sporting CP were expected to hold firm on his price tag while his agent told newspaper O Jogo he was “sure he’ll leave.”
However, earlier this month GOAL‘s Neil Jones reported the Ugarte was, in fact, not a target for the Reds, who are pursuing Alexis Mac Allister as a priority.
The 22-year-old has since been linked with Chelsea, Tottenham and Aston Villa, but according to Correio da Manha, he is now joining Paris Saint-Germain.
The Portuguese newspaper reports that the deal “is closed,” with PSG due to trigger his release clause and Ugarte agreeing a five-year contract.
L’Equipe in France describe the transfer as being “very advanced,” with sources close to the situation “no longer having any doubts” despite interest from the Premier League.
Another French outlet, RMC Sport, claim PSG have “already reached an agreement” with the player, who will become their first signing of the summer.
It is questionable whether this development can be considered a blow for Liverpool, with it unsure whether Ugarte was ever on the radar at the club.
More likely is that Liverpool, and their well-publicised need for midfield signings, were used to boost the profile of talks over his future and perhaps even alert clubs like PSG to his availability.
This will not be the only case of this throughout a long summer transfer window, and as has often been seen with the Reds’ recruitment, deals may instead come out of the blue.
Liverpool have already been linked with a number of midfield targets by reliable sources on Merseyside, including Mason Mount, Ryan Gravenberch, Matheus Nunes, Romeo Lavia, Joao Palhinha, Alex Scott and Khephran Thuram.