CHELSEA are the front-runners to sign Sporting Lisbon star Manuel Ugarte, according to reports.
Despite splashing out over £500million on players this season, the Blues are set to continue to bolster their bloated squad this summer.
Ugarte, 22, is in high demand after his brilliant performances for Sporting.
And according to Uruguayan reporter Franco Fernandez, the defensive midfielder could join Chelsea as early as next week.
Ugarte's current deal is understood to possess a £52million release clause, which the Blues would be expected to trigger.
He is claimed to want to play in the Premier League, and is reportedly on the cusp of agreeing a six-year contract with Chelsea.
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Ugarte has also attracted interest from the West Londoners' Premier League rivals Liverpool.
While Paris Saint-Germain would love to bring him to the French capital.
Chelsea raided the Portuguese top flight to sign Benfica starlet Enzo Fernandez in January.
The Blues forked out a British record £107m to secure the Argentine's services.
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Ugarte started out at Uruguayan club Fenix, before moving to Portuguese side Famalicao.
Following just six months at Famalicao he signed for Sporting in the summer of 2021.
He has so far made 85 appearances for the Portuguese giants, while also earning eight caps for Uruguay.
Ugarte has featured against Arsenal and Tottenham in European competitions this season, although he was left on the bench for Sporting's league match against Vizela on Friday, amid transfer speculation.
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